Hermione Granger for once was not stood at the front of the class. This was the class everyone had been dreading. 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 were 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 and wringing her fingers. 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 and 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 may have become less of an arsehole this year but the smirking sarcastic bastard still exists.
"Well yes when you put it like that. I will go first. After me then we'll go alphabetically."
"No," Hannah Abbott says "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 Hufflepuff's start arguing with the teachers that's when you can tell 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 has been rattling on the desk. To everyone's surprise Dawlish emerges from the case students look from one to each other. 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. They haven't seen 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 faces the boggart who turns into his mother. She tells him he's a disappointment and no longer useful and send an avada kedavra at her son. His riddikulus makes her trip over her shoes.
Ron steps up and the boggart again becomes a spider. Despite everything they've been through his greatest fear is still spiders. She envies him that.
Most people's boggarts become loved ones in the clutches of death. A few manage to make them into something funny. Most break down. For Harry the dementor is gone. In its place are the lifeless bodies of herself and Ron. Boggart Hermione tells him it's his fault we died. He was the reason we were 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.
The other Slytherin's boggarts are truly disturbing. Watching Pansy start shaking when a man in a death eaters mask tells her she has to suffer for her father's mistakes as he undoes the fastenings of his trousers. Malfoy jumps his place in the queue to help a horrified Pansy. Lord Voldemort appears in the room wand pointed at Malfoy reminding him that unless he learns to be more useful his mother will become Greyback's "pet" or be used as entertainment ending in the same death his owl and house elf faced. After he casts riddikulus Voldemort begins to stutter and choke his commanding and threatening voices power taken away. At his turn Theodore Nott's boggart becomes his father telling him he's been pardoned and he's coming home to watch over Theo again. The riddikulus puts him in rags and chains snivelling on the floor. Both Nott and Malfoy laugh. No one else finds it funny but then again no one else knew the man.
Neville no longer fears Professor Snape. Instead a first year is curled on the floor screaming for 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.
Daphne Greengrass the last before Hermione has to face the boggart. She sees 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.
Then it's her turn. No more time. She has no idea what she's about to face. 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 girlfriends boggart. As he takes in exactly what the boggart has become he gets angry.
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 made her fibrant.
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 are 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" he grabs his bag and flees after his friend. Leaving Hermione alone on the floor of the classroom.