The newborn sun had dawned across the castle, touching each of the students hearts with the joy that was usually inflicted every year. Every boy and girl were still locked in sleep, clinging onto those extra minutes of slumber before they'd go to their first classes. Gryffindor Tower had its fair share of deep sleepers. Ron, Seamus and occasionally Harry. Sometimes even Neville. All were filling the dorm room with their snores except for Theodore, the early bird of the boys.
The Parselmouth had awoken spontaneously, owing to the fact that his body had shifted into his usual sleeping schedule for school. Theodore's dreams had fared well during the night, no longer causing the boy distress in his slumber. The returning sensation of his four-poster bed within the third year dormitory had comforted him in body and mind, although his thoughts became erratic as he slept. Yes, there were occasional flashes of Dementors, the black dog and Sirius Black, but none were potent enough to infect his dreams into nightmares. For once in a long time, Theodore could finally sleep soundly inside Hogwarts. No diary, no father, none of that. None of that at all.
After dumping a small pile of newt tails for Viripin near her basket, Theodore stumbled out of bed as he rubbed his eyes to clear his vision. He took out his fresh new uniform from his suitcase, and brought it with him to the boy's bathroom which was situated at the very top of the Tower. The bathroom was very spacious, even if it looked tiny from the outside. There were multiple stalls that didn't exhibit a single stain of any sorts, four pristine shower stalls and a white bathtub with golden taps that seemed too bright for anyone to look at. Theodore never used the tub as he had no reason to, and he wasn't about to change that now. He soon hopped into the shower, and left for the shimmering marble sinks when he was finished. He brushed his apparent perfect teeth and changed himself into his uniform.
He then exited the boy's bathroom and threw his pyjamas onto his bed before retrieving his shoes and his bag for the day ahead. Theodore was especially looking forward to the year with the wager between him and Hermione being reinstated. Of course, it was Hermione's idea to revive this rivalry, but the boy didn't once think of backing down. Last year was a year of 'hinderance' for the two bright children, but this year would be different. Surely nothing could possibly go wayward three years in a row now?
Theodore trotted down the spiral staircase and plopped himself onto the sofa near the fireplace, fitting his shoes on while remembering the night before. He didn't get to see much of Elvira, partially because he was too tired and because everyone blocked him off by circling around her, like a flimsy human flailing helplessly in the water with sharks nearby. Ron, Dean and Seamus were especially taken by her as they droned on about the Metamorphmagus till their heads smacked their pillows. Theodore would be lying if he said that she wasn't pretty, but hearing 'she's so fit' multiple times in a row would get annoying eventually. Safe to say though, Elvira was definitely one of the 'unique' children that were currently at Hogwarts, and Theodore meant it as in different from the others, him included. Two Parselmouths and a Metamorphmagus, all in the same year and all in Gryffindor. Too much of a coincidence.
"Hello?" A voice called out from behind the boy. Theodore turned around and saw Elvira in her uniform, crisp and in pristine condition like his, standing at the entrance of the girls' stairway. Her hair was the same as the night before but had silver streaks to go with it. The Parselmouth straightened himself and stood up to face the girl.
"Hi. You're up early."
"Couldn't really sleep properly, you know. New school and everything. You understand, right?" She replied as she walked away from the archway. Theodore nodded and thought for a while before speaking back up to her.
"You're French, right?"
"Then how exactly are you here? I thought that Hogwarts was only for people from Britain. And isn't there a school in France as well?" Theodore asked. Elvira stopped behind the sofa, a mere metre and a half away from Theodore as she answered his question without hesitation.
"I was actually born in Ireland, where my mother came from. I moved to France when I was just two years old, but returned when I was twelve. My father wanted me to go to Beauxbatons, but changed his mind when he realised that Albus Dumbledore would be here. He idolises him, you know."
"Beauxbatons? That's the name of the school?" Elvira nodded then ran her fingers through her Mohawk. "I think I heard about that place. Didn't, umm… ahh, what's his name… ah, him! Didn't Nicholas Flamel go there?"
"You know of Nicholas Flamel?"
"Of course! Creator of the Philosopher's Stone, how could I not know about him! In fact, I even held it in my hand once." Theodore said proudly, remembering the first underground dungeon that was hidden away. Elvira scrunched up her face as she crossed her arms, staring at the boy as if he passed wind.
"That is a lie because the Stone has been with Nicolas for centuries. There's no way that you could've held it in your hand." Theodore scoffed and sat back down, tying up his final lace before reaching for his bag.
"Look, if you don't believe me, then go ahead. The Philosopher's Stone was inside the castle, I held it in my hands and it's probably destroyed. But you believe what you want to believe," said the boy as he fitted his tie properly. He was certain that Elvira was giving him glares of deathly annoyance from behind him but that thought was immediately spoiled upon hearing his fellow Gryffindors galloping down the stairs excitably. The new first years seemed a little less nervous than the last ones, many having found friends within each other already. Soon, everyone spilled out from the stairways until the Parselmouth's three best friends came into vision. They all caught sight of him and walked over to greet the boy, swerving around the crowd which had Elvira entrapped.
"Honestly, they should give her some space," mumbled the Muggle-born as she slung her bag behind her back. "She's not an animal to be gawked at!"
"But this never happened before, a person joining in their third year. And she's a Metamorphmagus." Ron said in an unfocused manner as he raised his head towards the crowd.
"They're choking her, Ron."
"A bit of an exaggeration," chirped in Harry as he threw his bag behind his back as well. "I'm sure that it'll all die down by the end of the day. Not to blow my own horn, but the same thing happened to me on my first day here." Hermione merely crossed her arms as she watched the crowd grow exponentially, leaving them no chance to even see Elvira, let alone talk to her. The quartet meandered through the Gryffindors and left the common room for the Great Hall, where their first breakfast would be served.
As they entered the already noisy Great Hall after a lengthy trip from the higher floors, the four sat down on their table as they ignored the jeering guffaws from the Slytherins behind them, particularly from Draco. Harry was staring straight at his empty golden plate, hands burning with rage that was dangerously volatile. Hermione insisted that he shouldn't do anything, while Ron was the complete opposite. The two bickered for a moment, then turned to Theodore who couldn't care less about if they should attack Draco or not. But it didn't mean that Draco hadn't touched a nerve of the Parselmouth. Any hope of the two becoming 'friends' again was already thin from the moment they met, and it was soon reaching its snapping point. Why did he have to make it so hard?
Theodore was going through his new timetable that was given to him by George, tracing through his two newest subjects as well as his old ones.
"Hey guys, Divination first, right?" Theodore said to his friends as he aimlessly grabbed a handful of bacon strips. No response. He wiped his greasy hand with a napkin and looked up to the others, wondering why they ignored him. "I said 'Divination first, right?' What is wrong with-"
Elvira was skipping down the middle of the Hall, desperately trying to escape the mob of excited students that seemingly had no regard for personal space. Everyone was goggling at her like she was a model on a catwalk, still keeping their eyes on her as she slipped in between Hermione and Ron.
"Sorry," panted the Metamorphmagus as she ducked her head a little. "I… they were following me everywhere, and I didn't know where to go."
"It's alright. I'll help you with getting around the place. Quite an expert in knowing all the classrooms in the castle, you see."
"So is Filch, Ron. Not that impressive." Ron growled under his breath at the Muggle-born, but lost any trace of annoyance as he continued to talk with Elvira. Hermione turned to the other side of the table towards Theodore, who was cleaning his plate off and grabbing his bag for the next lesson. All the third year Gryffindors that were taking Divination, followed suit as they cleared out from the Hall and to the North Tower where Divination was at.
Although quite far from being the fittest in the House, even in his group of friends, Theodore was surprisingly ahead of everyone else, being at least a floor above the others as they panted below him. Don't get it wrong, Theodore was heavily drained of energy and even thought to wait for the others, but decided against it. His endurance was probably the cause of leaving for Dumbledore's office all the time. After fifteen minutes of dreadful trekking up the castle's heights, Theodore finally reached the seventh floor, encountering the circular trapdoor that was on the ceiling after the spiral staircase in the Tower. He tiredly climbed the ladder that had appeared from the trapdoor, and entered the most bizarre-looking room that Hogwarts had to offer. Although he was the only person there, the place couldn't feel anymore cluttered. Multiple tables covered with red sequin tablecloths, floating candles and lanterns all over the place, bookshelves with thick layers of dust, crystal balls that were filled with mist and too, too many bells that were situated at every corner of the classroom, if you could call it that. Theodore remembered Hermione calling the professor of Divination 'looney', and it looked like she was completely right. He wondered how she'd even loo-
"Theo! How… did you make… it up so fast?" Harry panted as he placed a heavy hand on the boy's shoulder. Theodore retained his startled yelp and turned around to see the rest of the Gryffindors coming through the trapdoor.
"Why didn't you guys catch up? You're supposed to be the best Seeker in the school, Harry," remarked Theodore as he grinned cheekily at his cousin.
"Don't push it."
The children all spilled inside of the classroom, placing themselves in the seats of their liking, and soon settled down while they questioned where the teacher was, who was called Sybil Trelawney, according to the trapdoor before. Theodore was sat on a table with Harry and Elvira, who revived the conversation prior breakfast with Theodore in the common room.
"Is it true that the Philosopher's Stone was inside of the castle," asked the girl to Harry, side-eyeing Theodore as Harry answered back.
"Yep. Ron, Hermione, Theodore and I went down to a secret chamber underneath the school to stop it from falling into the wrong hands, and we won. Didn't we, Theo?"
"Yes. We did." Theodore couldn't help slipping in a snide tone within his response as Elvira looked surprised and annoyed at the same time.
"Wow. I thought that the Stone was hidden away, and that Nicolas Flamel had found true immortality. Wait, so you held it? In your hand?" Both of the boys nodded their heads, watching the Metamorphmagus gasp as her hair shifted into a brilliant red. "Then you must tell me all about it! Why was it here in the first place?"
"Well, it's kinda complicated. You see, somebody really evil wanted it to-" Harry was interrupted as a thin woman emerged from nowhere, who was covered in necklaces shaped in runes, rings that were far too large for her spidery fingers, a very odd set of unevenly coloured robes and had a pair of glasses which had lenses so thick that Theodore could count each melanin spot across her sclera with ease. Everyone watched her walk aimlessly around the class as if she wasn't supposed to be there until she became startled by Ron's raised arm.
"Oh, dear boy! I didn't see you there! What exactly are you doing here anyway?" The odd-looking woman said in a slightly raspy voice.
"I… have a lesson," replied Ron as he turned to Hermione, who also had an expression of confusion. The woman clapped her hands as she shook the bangles on her wrist, and glided around each table like a ghost.
"Ah, yes! My newest students! How are you all? My name is Professor Trelawney, and I...!" She shouted as if she was a show-woman. "...will be your guide in the ancient, the mysterious, the… complex art that is called Divination. The Inner Eye, the ability to see beyond the beyond can be gained here, if you are willing to ring the bells of your fortune."
That was all that Ron could say after the amount of balderdash that was spewed out from Trelawney. The eccentric professor twirled around the tables once more, ignoring Ron's befuddlement, as well as everyone else's, constantly knocking into each table until she stopped at Theodore's. The boy backed away as she brought her face dangerously close, piercing into his eyes as if there was something hidden inside of them.
"Dear boy, you seem to hold something that nobody else in this room possess."
"Is it the Inner Eye?" Everyone sniggered as she carried one staring at the boy, still too close for his liking. Trelawney stared a little longer before drawing herself back to swooping through the tables, somehow still talking to Theodore.
"A gift! You possess a gift from a dark past! A gift that has been passed down… by blood." Theodore swallowed as he dug his nails into the table, blinking madly. Harry saw him trembling a little as he too started to feel uncomfortable. Everyone turned to the Heir, narrowing their eyes in puzzlement at the professor's pronouncement. Theodore remained silent, still… closed.
"Are you okay," asked Elvira quietly to the suddenly silent boy. Theodore nodded his head and kept his gaze on Trelawney, his brain unable to comprehend what had just been said. Did she know that he was the Heir of Slytherin, as well as the Dark Lord's son? It was impossible, absolutely! A woman such as herself could have never spoken about him, or his father… right? She couldn't have.
"Alright! Enough dilly-dally, chitty-chatting! The lesson must go on," cried Trelawney as she blatantly ignored the uneasiness that was across the Parselmouth's face. "Everybody collect a teacup for yourselves and gather up in groups of three. You will be determining the patterns from the dregs of the tea, after you drink it. Make sure to keep your books open, as well as to follow my instructions carefully. Please, help yourselves."
Everyone got up from their seats to the shelf holding the teacups, and then to the kettles near the fire to fill them up with strange-smelling tea. Theodore was brought into a permanent frown, scowling whenever Trelawney would ask him what was wrong. She could've possibly exposed him for who he was, and she asked what was wrong with him. Hermione gave him a slight nudge to his arm, to which he returned with a small smile before he filled his cup. He soon returned to his table with Elvira and Harry, and downed the tea as quickly as he could before it burned his tongue. They swirled, drained, and exchanged them to the person on their left, Harry getting Theodore's, Theodore getting Elvira's and Elvira getting Harry's. They opened up Unfogging the Future, and soon began to read the dregs that seemingly held the future for the young teens. After three minutes of flicking through the book, Harry clasped his hands to his mouth as he tried to contain his laughter, only to fail.
"What? What's so funny," asked Theodore, still scowling. "Harry, stop laughing and tell me what's so funny about my cup."
"Oh, it's just… it's just, okay, I'll stop laughing. According to this, you have a figure eight, which means endless unity. Then here, you have… you have…" Harry was struggling to keep in his laughter as he hid himself under the table. Elvira peered her head underneath and followed his head as he rose back up, eyes watery and red.
"My god, will you get a grip?! Just tell me what it says, man! Stop stalling!" Theodore snapped as his cousin sat back onto his chair.
"Alright, alright! You have an anchor, which means infatuation and love from somebody nearby. So that means…"
"It means that whoever has a crush on you in this room, is the future Mrs Riddle. A-and we all know who'd LOVE to take that title," choked the scar-bearing boy as he pointed at Lavender, who was chatting away with Trelawney and Parvati. Theodore grabbed his teacup back and ran his fingers through the pages, desperate to find anything else other than the eight and the anchor.
"No! No, it can't be! Your wrong, I know you are! You just didn't read it right…" Theodore asserted nervously as he flicked through his copy so quickly, the pages almost ripped each time he turned to the next one.
'I can't marry Lavender! That would go against the Laws of the Universe! I don't even want to think about that, not even a bit!'
"Excuse me, Theodore? May you read my one, please?" The Metamorphmagus asked sweetly as she tapped her teacup that was in front of Theodore. The Parselmouth sulked as Harry carried on snickering, picking up Elvira's cup as he searched for the patterns inside.
"You, err… you have a, err… a spiral of wind, which means the extension of something. And you also have… Harry, what do you think that is?"
"Looks like a star." Theodore looked down to his book and found the meaning of the star.
"The star means family, so you will have an extension of family, or whatever the hell this means, I don't care…" Elvira ignored the boy's bitterness and contemplated on her teacup reading.
"Hmm. My family is already large, so I can't really see it getting any bigger. Perhaps my older siblings will have more children…" The girl seemed to drain away barely with colour as her hair changed into golden long locks. She perked up again up upon being asked to read Harry's teacup, to which she happily obliged to. Taking the pink cup in her hands, and tracing her finger through the book, she soon managed to find the answer that both boys were desperate to find out, both for different reasons.
"Um, so Harry. You have a… clawed hand, which means somebody is after your blood. Erm… a skull that represents danger in your path and a… rat. No… sorry. I was never taught Divination, only basic Arithmancy." Theodore could see Hermione from the corner of his eye, nodding approvingly as she uninvitedly listened to their conversation.
"It's alright," replied Harry as he held a hand up. "I doubt anybody here is an expert in this stuff. Probably just a bunch of nonsense." Theodore grunted in agreement as he leaned back in his chair, wishing that the day could end at that moment. Elvira attempted to read Harry's cup once more, finally finding what future was held for the Boy Who Lived.
"It looks like a dog, but there is no dog in the book. It only says the Grim." A deafening gasp of air erupted from Trelawney as she scurried over to the table that they were at, grabbing Harry's cup to validate Elvira's reading. She twisted and turned the cup, blinking profusely as she tried to grab every single detail possible before dropping the cup in horror. It shattered at her feet, but she didn't take any notice. Theodore turned to his cousin, who couldn't look anymore confused on what was read about him.
"The Grim? What's the Grim?" Seamus asked as he turned around to face Harry, like everyone else.
"The Grim… a giant, ungodly dog… death's omen!" Lavender and Parvati gasped while Theodore felt his insides melting. An omen of death?! He saw the Grim as well, so did that mean that he was going to die?! How?! Who would- The boy sank in his chair as he stared downwards, Harry doing the same, upon realising why they had witnessed the Grim. Sirius Black was out to kill Harry, and probably Theodore although it seemed unlikely. But that didn't make any sense. Why would Black, a Death Eater who was incarcerated for nearly fourteen years, come after his master's son?
"Don't be ridiculous! It can't be the Grim!" Hermione spoke from her table demeaningly.
"How would you know," asked Lavender with her arms around her hips. "Professor Trelawney's an expert in this, so she'd obviously be correct."
"If it really was the Grim, then why hasn't anything happened to him yet? Explain that."
"My dear, please do not belittle the energies of the Inner Eye and its flow throughout everyone. Logic can only take you one step further and not another step more. I fear that your Eye is closed, or maybe… nonexistent." It was Hermione's turn to scowl at the looney teacher as her nose and cheeks burned red with anger and annoyance. The Muggle-born whipped her head back around to her table and was silently talking with Ron and Seamus, while Trelawney was still rambling on about the foreboding prediction that was inside the broken teacup. In fact, this carried on for the entire lesson with her finally dismissing the class when she heard the faint bells of lesson changeover from the castle below. Theodore grabbed his bag and uncaringly stuffed his book inside, and made his way through the trapdoor to the next lesson. He patiently waited for his friends, and watched them climb down the ladder as he tried to vent out his frustration to them.
"What kind of game is she playing at, saying stuff like that? I swear, this class is going to be the death of me! Already one lesson and I can't stand her!" Theodore huffed as Ron was the last one down. Hermione shook her bushy hair in agreement, also irritated with the professor's teaching methods.
"I know, right? First she says that books won't help in the class, then she says that I'm not fit for learning her balderdash! It's all a bunch of nonsense if you ask me." Ron scoffed as he brushed the dust off his robes.
"Of course, you two would complain. Something that isn't exactly your forte, and you're suddenly against it," said the red head as they began to head for their Transfiguration class.
"Oh please. I could pass this class without reading a single book. I just don't like her, that's all." The Parselmouth returned as he crossed his arms.
"Yeah, she is a bit of a weirdo, I'll give you that…"
"Harry!" The quartet spun around as they looked up the spiral staircase to see Elvira gracefully descending down the steps with slight regret upon her face.
"Hey, Elvira. What's the matter?"
"I'm sorry, you know? For the whole 'Grim' thing. I didn't know that it was such a big deal."
"It's alright. I think we can all agree that Professor Trelawney is… different. But it's okay, seriously. I'm fine." Theodore knew for a fact that Harry wasn't fine at all. He had the same amount of consternation as Theodore, which floated throughout his emerald irises. His anonymous soulmate had only been meters from him a few minutes ago, but he was to succumb to death before it was his time. How could two predictions be so vastly different from each other, yet prove to be equally as life-changing for the boy? It could've been worse. Not by a lot, but worse. Theodore trotted alongside his friends, still taken over by the lesson.
'Maybe I should've gotten a Time-Turner as well…'
"Don't you have to be someplace else?"
"Hush, Theo!" Theodore smirked as the Muggle-born seated herself next to him inside their first SoAR class, taught by a teacher called Professor Babbling. She was a kind woman with a round face and dark hair, and seemed to take a shine to Theodore and Hermione. She was very pleased to see the two in her class, indicating that their reputations as the smartest in the year preceded them. The two were sat on the left of the classroom, the Room of Runes, near the windows where the front of the castle could be seen. The class, which consisted of many Ravenclaws and Slytherins, settled down as the lesson started.
"How was Care for Magical Creatures," whispered the boy as he scribbled down the notes that were shown on the blackboard.
"I haven't gone yet. I figured that this lesson would need more focus than Hagrid's, not saying that I won't focus in his class. Always have to save the best class till last." Hermione whispered back as she patted her chest where the Time-Turner chimed slightly. "Do you regret not choosing all electives now?"
"Not in the slightest. Besides, I doubt the Ministry would allow two Time-Turners in the school anyways. Couldn't that seriously fuck up the flow of time or something?"
"Sorry, Mum. Won't happen again." Theodore said as he dipped his quill into his ink bottle for a new piece of parchment. Hermione opened her mouth to berate the boy, but closed it and turned back to her parchment as well. The lesson continued mostly in silence, notes being stacked and books being labelled for homework and future essays. Theodore was lucky to have the Runes Dictionary for his birthday, impressing Professor Babbling at each answered question. Hermione answered the same amount of questions correctly, both earning several house points for Gryffindor. If they kept this up, and if the Grim was nowhere to be seen, Gryffindor would have the House Cup in the bag. He overheard Oliver insisting that they needed to win the Quidditch Cup in his final year, a huge contributing factor to the House Cup. Three years in a row would be a damaging blow to Slytherin, he was sure of it.
"Can I see you use it?" Theodore asked as they packed away, for the school day had ended finally. Hermione furrowed her eyebrows, sure to refuse the boy's request, but gave in without too much trouble.
"But you mustn't leave any trace that I was there, alright? I could get into serious trouble, you know."
"Yeah, yeah, I know. Come on, I want to see it!" Hermione motioned for the Parselmouth to follow her down near the Entrance Hall and to the archway that led to the dungeons. The two hid themselves in between a hidden crevasse near Snape's classroom, silently waiting in the shadows for all the seventh years to clear out from the corridor before pulling out into the light again. Hermione reached into her robes and brought out the Time-Turner to her face. "Well? Turn it, then."
"I really shouldn't be showing you this."
"And you shouldn't have told me about it in the first place, yet here we are. Come on, Hermione! I'm growing impatient over here!"
"Alright, just calm down. You're like a five year old child… I'm going to Magical Creatures, so you'll see me in the common room in about a minute or so. See you later, or much, much later… Bye!" Hermione twisted the dial within the ring of the necklace four times until she released it from her fingers and with that, she instantly vanished. Theodore waved a hand in the spot where she was and felt only the cold, humid air of the dungeons that was naturally present down there. No sign of Hermione.
"Always have to make the wrong decisions, don't you?" Theodore said to himself harshly as he spun around towards the Entrance Hall. Theodore ascended up the marble staircases and journeyed to Gryffindor Common Room, where he was met by the blank faces of his fellow House members. He walked over to Harry, Ron, Hermione, Seamus and Elvira who were all seated on the sofa and stood in front of the fire to face them.
"Did Hagrid show you the insides of a Hippogriff or something? What's wrong with you guys?"
"Hippogriff, yes. It's insides? Pending," drawled Ron glumly as he sighed deeply afterwards. Theodore turned to Harry and asked him what happened during the lesson that was supposed to be funnest of the year. The scar-bearing boy drearily recapped the entire lesson to his cousin, sinking further down the sofa as he too, sighed heavily.
"And you think that Draco is going to tell an entirely different story when asked?" Harry, Ron and Hermione nodded their heads as Seamus threw his head backwards.
"That Draco boy is not very nice," said Elvira. "He made very rude comments about Professor Hagrid behind and in front of him. I feel very sorry for Professor Hagrid. I hope that he won't lose his job for this."
"They shouldn't! The skinny prick deserves to get his arm taken off, after calling Buckbeak an ugly brute!" Seamus cried in frustration.
"The Hippogriff's name."
"Ah." Theodore stroked his chin, which had gained four extra hair strands, as he sat on the armchair not too far from the others.
"We should go to Dumbledore, or write to the Ministry to tell the truth," suggested the Muggle-born. "Malfoy is definitely going to suck up to his father about this."
"That's the thing. His dad is still a school governor, remember? Apparently, everyone from the Ministry didn't try to persecute him of accusing Hagrid from the attacks last year, because Malfoy was one of the victims."
"It's a tight one, then," muttered Harry. "I seriously don't want him to lose his job. Hagrid isn't appreciated enough in the school, and you have dickheads like Malfoy accusing him of bloody murder!"
"He hasn't really accused him, though." Everyone turned to Theodore with an eyebrow raised high. "Yet. I was going to say yet." And it was definitely a matter of yet, for there was no doubt that Draco would try to have Hagrid fired over one little incident. Theodore ran up to the dorm room to change into his normal clothes, fed Viripin quickly, then later regrouped with the others for dinner time. From the looks of how the year was starting out, Theodore could tell that something was going to kick off between Gryffindor and Slytherin. He just didn't know when.
"Today, you will be brewing the Shrinking Solution. A potion probably far beyond your level of understanding, but… I'll see if you are even half the potioneers that you claim to be. I will assign your partners, who will only give advise to you, not to support your lazy backsides. Understood?"
"Yes, Professor Snape," recited the class in a soulless fashion. The Potions Master was still as greasy-haired as ever, still snarling at Neville whenever he'd raise his hand and still belittling Hermione whenever she'd answer a question correctly. Theodore and Draco were both working on the same table, silently cutting their daisy roots for the potion as they said nothing to each other. Theodore hadn't batted an eye towards the blonde boy, feeling sore that he could possibly be the catalyst to Hagrid losing his first respectable job, not that being a gamekeeper was a bad one. The Parselmouth watched Harry standing side by side with Crabbe, who was producing an odour that even held Draco in disgust. Guess he wasn't that big on showers. Theodore carried on slicing his roots perfectly until Draco declared that he was incapable of carrying on further.
"Riddle, cut Draco's roots for him." Snape mumbled as he rummaged through a stack of letters.
"Professor, can't Weasley do it for-" Draco continued but he was cut off by the professor who instructed the Parselmouth to dice the roots for the blonde boy. Theodore didn't complain as he swiped Draco's roots and sliced through each one, making another batch of perfectly cut roots before pushing them back to Draco. The blonde boy thanked him quietly and sprinkled them inside of his bubbling cauldron. Theodore had already dropped in his roots, caterpillars and wormwood and was stirring rapidly until Draco spoke out once more, but not to Snape.
"You alright, Theo?" Draco asked awkwardly as he picked out five caterpillars from his sprawled ingredients. Theodore turned to the other three, noticing that their attention was diverted to their own potions, then turned back around to Draco.
"Yeah, I'm good. Can't say the same for you." He pointed at the sling wrapped around Draco's arm.
"Yeah well, things happen. Especially when it's not your fault."
"That's not what I heard," replied Theodore with slight coldness in his voice as he mashed his leeches and poured the slime inside the concoction, which turned into a horrid brown. Draco exhaled loudly, oddly choosing to ignore the Parselmouth's jab for the sake of reconciliation.
"You got my birthday card, right?"
"Yeah. Thanks for that." Draco nodded slightly and asked politely for Theodore to juice his leeches into his cauldron. "Have you gone to the hospital wing for your arm? Madam Pomfrey can mend bones in a blink of an eye."
"I've got other things to do, rather than to worry about a small cut."
"Nothing really important. Family stuff. Hey, could you help me with the rat spleen please?" Theodore threw the spleen inside of Draco's cauldron as he was the first to finish, and walked over to the sinks to clean himself off while others soon began to finish up as well. Snape commanded everyone to gather around Neville and Hermione's table abruptly with a grin of malicious intent crawling all over his pale face. Theodore knew that Snape would grab every opportunity to humiliate the poor boy, and was fearful for his pet toad who was going to be tested on with Neville's own potion. Theodore stood next to Hermione, who was also worried by the possible outcome, and watched Snape gently lifting Trevor in one hand as he had a pipette in the other. He sucked up a considerable amount of the Solution and squeezed its contents down the toad's mouth.
Trevor lost his arms and legs, his murky green skin as well as his bulbous golden eyes as he flipped excitably in the professor's hand as a small black tadpole. Neville went bright red from the ovation from his fellow Gryffindors as Snape instantly snapped at Hermione for helping him. He turned Trevor back into a toad and dropped him into Neville's hands as he glided back to the front desk as the class began to clear their things away.
"He's always targeting Neville! I don't get why he has to be so mean!" Hermione declared to Theodore as she bagged up her unused ingredients, flustered with anger.
"Could've just lied, you know. You're not compelled to say the truth to Snape."
"But its so hard to lie! Oh, I have to go now," muttered the Muggle-born as she tapped the Time-Turner under her robes before slipping away discreetly without drawing any attention to herself. Theodore was about to point out that her bag was going to rip but turned his attention to Ron and Harry, who came over to him.
"I'm pissed off. Snape is taking the absolute piss and I'm pissed off! How did Goyle score more than me? Goyle! Goyle! Fucking scandalous, if you ask me! I should write a statement to Dumbledore so that he can fire that son of a bitch, Snake!" The Parselmouths hissed at him to quieten down, not wanting Snape to give them a plethora of detentions. "Argh! I hope that DADA is better than last year. You can't go worse when you had Lockhart, can you?"
"Guess we'll have to wait and see. Where did Hermione go off to? I swear she was here just a moment ago."
"Toilet. I'll see you guys later in DADA. I have to give something to Snape." Harry and Ron nodded at Theodore and emptied out of the classroom with the Gryffindors and the Slytherins, leaving him with the greasy-haired man who barely acknowledged his presence as he was busy rearranging the vials and jars in his cupboard. During the summer, Snape had given Theodore extensive homework on lycanthropy and the hypothetical uses of its 'vaccine'. Of course, it didn't have a cure but had an ailment called the Wolfsbane Potion, a relatively new discovery that could help a werewolf retain their human mind during their transformations. Theodore had to spend multiple nights awake with his limited resources in his small room, page after page, scraping whatever could be useful for the tiresome essay.
Theodore trudged over to Snape's desk with his bag swinging from his fingers, and slammed it down. Snape merely grunted but didn't turn around to say anything to him. He unzipped his bag and stuck his hand everywhere until he plucked the slightly crumpled essay and placed it near Snape's letter pile for him to see clearly. Now, curiosity was a strange thing, even more so in a magical school. You'd never know what could be hidden underneath a girl's bathroom, inside a forest that was forbidden, or in a pile of letters which didn't grab the boy's attention at first. None of them grabbed his attention, but one. One single letter.
He arched his back to lower himself along the desk, keeping his stare locked onto the letter which had a title obscured by the envelopes on top of it. Theodore used his finger to push them away slightly, eyes widening as each word became clearer and clearer.
The Last Will and Testament of Valerie Pot-
"Get away from there, boy," snapped Snape harshly as he slammed his hands on the letters, grabbing a large bundle in both hands as he dumped them far from sight. "What did I tell you about looking through my personal belongings? When will you listen?!"
"Sorry, sir! I just- the Wolfsbane essay is over there if you want to look at it. There's about five pages, so… I'm sorry." He hurriedly left the dungeon classroom before the man would blow a fuse, and ran to his next lesson to join the others. However, he was especially perplexed to see his class walking through the hallways with Lupin leading the way.
"Theodore, how nice to see you. I'll excuse your tardiness as we're going to do something practical today." Lupin said kindly as he passed Theodore around the corner. The boy's hazel eyes glowed with interest, borderline excitement as he joined everyone else. Hermione was talking with Elvira about Lockhart and Quirrell while Theodore asked Dean why they were doing something that was unheard of during their time at Hogwarts.
"Dunno," said the tall boy as he shrugged his shoulders. "He just came into the classroom and told us to follow him. I'm liking this guy already. Much better than Lockhart."
"By a mile and a half."
The class all entered the old staff room, which had a sleeping spectre in the corner, shabby around the corners and ridden with dust along the floorboards and the windows. Lupin flicked his wand which dispersed the dust from every inch of the room, making it look slightly less shabbier than before. A worn out wardrobe was all that stood within the abandoned room, along with the pile of broken furniture in the corner, suddenly shaking violently as everyone jumped back from it. Lupin reassured everyone that there was nothing to be worried about as he explained what exactly was inside the wardrobe.
"Who here can tell me what a Boggart is?" Lupin asked as three people raised their hands, Hermione, Theodore and Seamus. The scar-faced professor pointed at Seamus, who proudly spoke his answer out loud.
"It's one of those things that hides in dark places, right? Like in clocks, basements and attics. I saw one once when I went to my cousin's for the holidays. Frightening, just frightening!"
"And why is that?"
"Well, they can turn into whatever you fear the most. Like Neville being scared of Snape." The class snickered as Seamus patted the embarrassed boy on the back to show that he was only having some fun.
"Right you are, Mr Finnigan. A Boggart has the ability to shape-shift into whatever your heart deems worthy of fearing. Nobody knows what a Boggart naturally looks like as everybody has something to fear. Almost everyone, anyways. There is nothing to be ashamed of, when facing a Boggart. We have something to fear and that something can be shared and hopefully, understood amongst each other. That is the reason why we have surrounded the beast, and for what reason, Seamus?"
"So that it'll be confused on what form it should take on."
"Well done, again. Fifteen points for Gryffindor. Now, the spell to combat the Boggart is nothing too difficult, I hope. The effectiveness of the spell comes from your mind, your thoughts that you must turn into instinct, and that is the whole point of this. Turning your fear into laughter. Something to be ridiculed by you. Can you do that?" Everyone nodded their heads in unison. "Good. Now, the incantation for this charm is Riddikulus! Repeat after me. Riddikulus!"
"One more time!"
"Riddikulus!" Lupin nodded in approval of their pronunciation as he called Neville up first. Neville gulped and dragged his feet along the ground in front of everyone else. Theodore was wondering if Seamus was telling the truth about him. What was he thinking, of course Neville feared Snape! The man practically bullied him, after all.
"Now. Neville. Could you tell the class what you fear the most?" Lupin asked as he put his arm around the timid boy's shoulder. The faintest whisper could barely be heard from the front row of the Gryffindors as Lupin asked him again.
"I knew it!" Snickers and squeals echoed all over the room as Neville rubbed his elbow nervously. Lupin gently raised his hand up in the air to stop the laughter. He then lowered his head to Neville's head level and whispered a lengthy amount of words before he nodded towards him.
"You got it?"
"I-I… think so…" Lupin counted down from ten, giving Neville plenty of time to prepare as he squandered it by constantly looking back at his peers. Theodore could hear the heavy breathing coming from the boy as Lupin reached one, swishing his wand at the wardrobe, flinging the door near off its hinges as Snape crawled out from inside. He looked so lifelike, so real, but didn't seem like him. Perhaps Theodore had been around him for too long to recognise his body movement patterns. Snape stylishly walked over to Neville, suddenly breaking into a run when Neville cried, 'Riddikulus', instantly garbing the hook-nosed Professor in clothes that were fit for a 17th century queen. A frilly dress with sequins running nearly everywhere, a ridiculously large hat that had a hole in the middle and a heavy-looking purse which Snape struggled to keep a hold of.
Ron was crying on Theodore's shoulder as he was crying on his. Never had they seen or needed something, so badly. The rest of the class were in tears as Neville straightened his back, triumphant that he didn't make a fool of himself in the first DADA lesson of the year for once. He walked over to the back of the class who formed a line, serving high-fives as it was Parvati's turn next. Theodore was forth in the line, behind Dean and in front of Ron. His mind was running through what could possibly scare him. Like what was the one thing that made him cower in complete fear from the mere thought of it? Theodore never thought too much on fear, firmly believing that it'd only grow stronger, the more you thought about it.
'Well, I was scared of peacocks when I was three but that was ten years ago. Needles? They scare the shit out of me. Come on, Theo! What scares you, man? There has to be something! I mean, you're in a magical world where unicorns exist! Werewolves and Basilisks! Surely, I must've seen something that really got to me, like-'
He froze. His breath started to grow thin, brain turning foggy as the one thing that he feared the most, came to mind. No, not that. Anything but that! They couldn't see that, they can't! Theodore had to get away from the Boggart before everything would crumble into a cataclysmic lesson. No. He had to get away before it was too late. They couldn't see it, not even his friends.
"Hey, Ron," whispered Theodore to the red head behind him. "Do you want to go in front of me?"
"What, so that you can see me fight a massive spider?"
"Move out the way," sighed Ron as he switched places with the Parselmouth. The line had suddenly grown shorter as it was Ron's turn in no time at all. Theodore switched with Lavender, then Fay Dunbar, Elvira, Louisiana Kellah, then finally Harry who was at the very back. The line moved quicker than ever, suddenly finishing with Louisiana as it was Harry's turn to battle the Boggart when Lupin stopped him from doing so.
"Theodore, I've noticed that you are avoiding the Boggart. Surely, you are not scared of it. Are you?" Everyone turned to him, confused on why a top performer such as Theodore, was straying away from something that he'd obviously do well in. Theodore nervously held his hands behind his back as he backed up a little, careful not to stare into anybody else's eyes for too long.
"I'm not scared, it's just… I don't want to do it…" He spoke softly, twiddling his fingers as he looked away from Lupin.
"But you'll do great," chimed in Neville as he smiled cheerfully. "If I can do it, then so can you!"
"Neville, it's not that easy."
"All you have to do is say Riddikulus and-"
"I know, I just… don't want to do it, that's all."
"Please," pleaded Lavender and Parvati, still not letting go of their infatuation over the boy.
"I'm sure that there's nothing to worry about. You'll do fine." Elvira added sweetly, smiling at the handsome boy. Theodore didn't even bother to look at Hermione as he already knew that she'd be pushing him to the front. Theodore sucked in a large amount of air, coughing to clear his throat as he walked slowly through the third year Gryffindors. Slowly, carefully… fearfully walking to the Boggart. It felt so long for a distance that was so small. He swerved around Neville as he gave him a pat on the back with a toothy grin, not noticing how distressed the boy was from confronting the Boggart.
"Sir, I can't…"
"It's alright," said the professor back, smiling foolishly as he didn't know what could possibly be the outcome of this whole thing. "Keep calm, keep your head and relax." He inhaled again, edging closer to the Boggart that was still stuck in its previous form.
'I don't want to see this… I don't want to see this at all… please, don't make me… don't make me see… him…'
The Boggart was right in front of him, in the form of a tiny shark hanging off a fishing rod that was suspended in the air. Theodore had his wand gripped tightly in his hand as he stared at the shark, it's dead eyes suddenly turning to the fear-stricken boy. Suddenly, it exploded into black smoke, forming a cloud of dark mass as it swirled around the ceiling as if an ominous thunderstorm had arrived. It swirled and swirled, until it started to clump together, soon taking shape of something that looked so horrid and vile. The cloud solidified into something resembling a human, compacting together until Theodore caught a glimpse of pale white feet with nails shaped like talons protruding from the toes, soon obscured by the presence of a loose black cloak. The Boggart had taken the form of something similar to the hooded figure from two years ago, who was really Quirrell that was drinking unicorn blood for his father weakened self. Although that paled in comparison to what was in front of him. A hidden face, chalky-white fingers that looked so thin and needle-like. Claws that ran across the chest area of the black robes, reaching slowly for the hood. Theodore was trembling in fear, unable to raise his wand, brain completely unknowing of the charm as he just stood there… watching. As it held the folds of the hood tightly, it pulled it back even slower, first revealing the lipless mouth that was planted on a scaly white chin, displaying teeth that belonged to carnivores. Next, it was the nose, but there wasn't one. Just slits for nostrils, and nothing more. And finally, when the hood had been thrown back completely, Theodore was exposed to a face that he recognised yet was unaware of, at the same time. He expected no hair, yet there was very dark brown locks falling back as a few fell onto its face. The snakelike irises that held a blood-red shade to them, thinning those demonic slits as the Boggart loomed over the boy, still keeping him held to one place as he couldn't move at all. It only possessed very thin eyebrows but they were still visible against the heavy ridges above it's eyes. Theodore knew that this was his father, he knew that for sure… but it wasn't. His hair was always like that. Those were his cheeks, no matter how contorted they looked upon the Boggart. His ears, his chin, his face shape. Theodore wasn't looking at Lord Voldemort, his own father… he was looking at himself. Him, in his father's perfect image. He knew he held a deep fear for his father, but this was much worst. To see yourself as him… this was what he feared. He feared turning into him…
"Fresh blood… Slytherin's blood… our blood…"
"…Theodore!" Lupin shouted as he pulled Theodore away from the Boggart, which turned into smoke once more. Lupin bended his knees as he held the Parselmouth firmly by the shoulders, losing all the cheerfulness that he once displayed to everyone. "Theodore, why didn't you do the charm? Why didn't you respond when I called your name?" The boy shivered as he slowly turned to everyone else. They looked pale, cold and distant. It was like they all witnessed a Dementor that swooped inside of the room, stripping them all of their happiest memories by leaving them empty. Harry looked the least affected, which wasn't saying much as he also looked horrified by what the Boggart. The look on Hermione's face sold it for him as he flicked Lupin's arms off his shoulders roughly as he collected his bag from the corner.
"I said I didn't want a turn. But you didn't listen, did you?" He muttered darkly as he threw his bag around his shoulder.
"Theodore, I'm-" He slammed the door as it shook the wardrobe so much, it broke down into several broken pieces. Everyone stared at the door where the Parselmouth left from, still trying to comprehend what had happened. But only three of them knew, or at least they thought they did. Hermione brushed a lock of hair behind her left ear, her worries for the boy soon rising again. Must this happen every year? When will it stop?
Theodore didn't know it but his eyes had grown scarlet again, but only briefly. He breathed, and released, breathed and released. Inhale, exhale. He was standing in the adjacent corridor on the same floor, trying to control his fear and anger from what the Boggart turned into. His head was pounding, his skin was burning as his throat became parched. All because he saw his father again. The lividness on his face shifted into anxiety, then fear as he staggered against the wall, fanning himself with his hand. He wished he didn't storm out the class like that, nor did he wish that he said that to Professor Lupin. It was his father. Whenever he'd think about him, he'd just… lose it.
"Ron, try this one! I think it's a lion!" Seamus chucked a wrapped chocolate from across the room as the red head caught it in his hand. Ron unwrapped it quickly and chomped on it viciously, emitting a powerful roar a split second later. Everyone laughed, barrelling in their beds as they shared Silic's Sounds Confectionary, chocolates that made the eater create the most absurd noises ever. But the Gryffindor boys were having too much fun with them.
"Hey, Neville! Here, take this," said Seamus as he was ready to throw another at the pudgy boy.
"I already had one, remember? Give it to Theo."
"Theo, catch!" Theodore had no time to think. He grabbed the sweet in midair from his bed as he stared at the wrapper, which had a wolf's insignia in gold. The Parselmouth had remained quiet for the day after DADA, only talking with Harry, Ron, Hermione, and occasionally Neville and Elvira. Neville was apologising endlessly for goading him into facing the Boggart to which he accepted without hesitation. As they left for the common room, Seamus, along with everybody else, seemed to forget the lesson as he told the boys about the sweets he had gotten from his cousin.
"I thought you didn't like your cousin," remarked Theodore as he unwrapped the foil from the chocolate.
"He can be alright, sometimes. Still is a twat, though. Come on, now! Eat the bloody thing!" Theodore threw the chocolate in his mouth and tried to say something, only for the howling of a wolf to escape his lips. He even mockingly posed as one on his bed as all the other boys laughed. The effects soon wore off as he coughed, slapping his chest as he heard faint howling coming from outside his window. He ignored this as he fell back in his bed, face red from laughing too much.
"Man, it's been a crazy week, hasn't it?" Dean asked as he scrunched up all his spare wrappers in a large ball before placing it on his bedside table.
"You're telling me. Trelawney is an absolute nutter! Straight from St Mungo's! Did you hear what she said about Theodore?"
"A gift passed down by blood. What, can you speak to snakes or something?" Theodore scoffed slightly, his throat slightly raspy.
"Don't be ridiculous. If I could speak to snakes, then why am I not in Slytherin?"
"Harry can speak to snakes, and he's here with us," piped in Neville as he stroked Trevor. The boy's murmured in agreement, now casual over the fact that Harry was a Parselmouth.
"You guys… are reaching too far." Theodore yawned as he curled up in his bed. "Too much sugar in the brain, that's what you're on. Talking a whole load of nonsense." The boys all jokingly booed at Theodore as they climbed into their own beds, killing the lights as they soon fell to sleep as well. Theodore would've done so as well, had a certain Maibian Adder stayed underneath his bed.
"You smell… hot. You were angry today, weren't you?"
"I'll tell you in the morning. I have to go sleep, Viripin." The snake slithered onto his bed and rested her head near his own, flicking her tongue repeatedly as she spoke.
"Did anything else happen during the day? How was Potions with the torturer?" Theodore sat up and covered him and the snake under his duvet to mask their voices as he whispered to her.
"It was fine, but guess what I saw?"
"What did you see?"
"I was handing in my summer homework to Snape, and I saw a bunch of letters on his desk. I didn't get a good look at them, but one of them stood out from the rest."
"What did it say?"
"It said the 'Last Will and Testament of Valerie' something, before Snape snatched it away."
"Valerie, like your mother?"
"Are you saying that Snape has the will of your mother?" Viripin asked worryingly, her hatred for the professor still burning passionately within her.
"I… I think so."
"Should I try take it from him?"
"It would be terribly risky."
"But it'd be worth it." Viripin waited for a while in the darkness before speaking up again.
"It's your mother. You deserve to know what's inside of that letter. And if you decide to take it, I'll be behind you the entire way."
"You're just saying that because you want to get back at Snape," smirked the boy.
"That is not untrue."
"I don't think I tell you how much I love you, you know."
"You never have."
"Always a first for everything."
"Oh, Theodore. You flatter me too much!"
"Haha, so funny." Theodore said sarcastically as Viripin slipped off the bed slowly. "Goodnight, Viripin."
I think that Elvira will be the last of my main OCs. I don't think I'll be able to keep track of another after making at least five, but oh well.
So now we know what Theo fears! It was originally just going to be Voldemort but I figured that since almost everyone has the same Boggart, his should be a little different from the others. Also threw in a few hints and bits on the upcoming chapters, as well as what he'll be up to in his next year. But it's not GoF now! It's PoA!
Sorry for the late-ish upload, but I hope that you'll enjoy this chapter. Later.
P.S: The gift that Trelawney was talking about was not about Parseltongue. But you don't need to know that now, neither does Theo;)
War Sage: Thanks man:)