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Title: Telling Those Spiders
Focus: Ron Weasley
Word Count: 1,957
Notes: This is kind of a cross between book and movie canon. Comments and criticism gratefully accepted.
Summary: Spiders, tapdancing, and tapdancing spiders. And maybe a tapdancing Weasley. All in a night's work.
Ron Weasley hated spiders. This in and of itself was nothing unusual, as there are few people, even among witches and wizards, who actually like them. But he hated them with the kind of passion that the average wizard on the street reserved for Death Eaters, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and those annoying saleswitches who cornered you when you just wanted some fresh newt's eyes and tried to sell you subscriptions to The Quibbler.
So it was that no one who knew about his arachnophobia was all that surprised to see that his particular boggart was a spider of size to rival those who lived in the heart of the Forbidden Forest. Ron spent a good deal of his time trying not to think about those things. Having come face to face with the mother (or would it be father?) of all giant spiders just a year earlier, he would have been quite content if he never saw another one for as long as he lived.
But now there had been the boggart, and now his mind was alive with all the memory of ten thousand skittering feet. This is so stupid. He stared up into the darkness over his canopied four-poster and tried not to think about anything in particular. He was a wizard. He was a wizard who was best friends with Harry Potter. He'd seen bigger spiders than the boggart. He'd beaten the boggart. So why did he keep on thinking about those things?
Well, he determined, if he were going to keep on thinking about them, then he was going to think about them his way. He drew the mental image of the boggart-spider in his mind, and imagined the skates on it. Maybe this would even help if he had to go up against another one some day. Another boggart, not another spider. Boggart-spiders were a lot easier to deal with. Not to mention, they made a much more interesting 'pop' sound when they were finally defeated.
There was no way he was going to let anyone know that he still was bothered by those creepy things. They'd never stop making fun of him, and he got enough of that from Fred and George. Living with them was a never-ending exercise in how to deal with people on your back constantly.
He watched the spider in his mind squirm all over the floor over and over, and somewhere in there it occurred to him that this looked a lot like tap-dancing. He yawned drowsily, snuggling into his pillows, and wondered vaguely where Scabbers was. His rat didn't usually like to travel around that much. Had he remembered to give him the rat tonic? He wasn't all that sure right now, and he was feeling far too warm and comfortable to try and move.
I'll do it in the morning. He watched the tap-dancing spider in his imagination some more, making it go through as many routines as he could imagine. He'd heard Muggles had this kind of dancing too, but he couldn't think of how. After all, you could only really do the fancy steps with magic. Anything they had just wouldn't be as good. But they probably did their best.
The mental spider was now floating a few feet off the ground, throwing its legs around and squirming in the approved wizarding tap-dancing fashion. Ron grinned to himself; maybe he'd talk to Professor Lupin about doing a refresher course on boggarts before the end of the year. He wouldn't mind showing this off to the rest of the class. It wouldn't be all that bad to have a few eyes on him for a change, either. Fame couldn't be that big of a burden, could it? Harry handled it pretty well, from what he'd seen. Didn't like it, but dealt with it. Ron was sure he wouldn't have any problems, once he got used to it.
He sent the spider through a few more routines, noting vaguely that it was growing more and more vague. Maybe he was falling asleep. It wouldn't be the first time he had and had sort of noticed it. He let the image drift away, the spider sagging down as if exhausted, and curled more comfortably against the pillows. He'd like to do this kind of thing more often, he thought.
"Ronald." The voice didn't sound like anyone he knew, especially since no one he knew even called him that, except his mother when he'd done something incredibly stupid. Even then, he usually heard it at a volume fit to break windows, not a sort of breathy sigh like this. "Ronald."
"Huh? What?" He tried to look around and find out who it was, but something kept him pinned to the bed. He thrashed harder, trying to find where his wand was. He wanted to at least see what was going on.
Light flared all around, but he couldn't tell from where. No one had cast a spell of any kind; it had just suddenly appeared. Just like what was standing over him, dripping with menace and drool. No, it wasn't Crabbe and Goyle. This was much, much worse.
A giant spider stood over his bed, two of the front legs placed on each side of him and keeping him in place. The mandibles opened and the same voice as before breathed out, "Ronald."
"W..what do you want?!" This was bad. This was really, really bad. Where had this thing come from? How had it gotten past the castle defences? What did it want? "I haven't done anything to you!"
"You amused yourself at our expense in your mind." The spider hissed slowly, and from the corners of his eyes Ron could see other spiders gathering around, peering at him, hanging from every place they possibly could. "Now we want to be amused."
Ron's struggles abruptly halted and he stared up into one of the closer eyes. "You want what?"
In between the blink of an eye, and he wasn't quite sure whose eye was blinking, only that it wasn't his because he hadn't blinked in the first place, he was somewhere else. A quick look around revealed one of his darker nightmares: the clearing where Aragog and the spiders he'd spawned lived. He clutched frantically at his pyjamas, checking everywhere before realizing that wherever his wand might happen to be, it wasn't with him.
"We want to be amused." He was pretty sure it was the same spider as before, but he wasn't going to ask to be sure. Deep down, he didn't want to know. "By you."
"Can you be amused by me running and screaming back to Hogwarts?" Ron muttered to himself, taking a step back. As he did so, he heard things moving around behind him, and quickly looked back there. His stomach churned the second he saw what was there: dozens upon dozens, if not hundreds upon hundreds, of spiders. Above and below and all around they crouched and crawled, and all of those eyes were on him. He looked around carefully, but no matter what direction he turned, there were always spiders staring back at him. Looks like position of worst nightmare just got taken. And I thought nothing could top being on a date with Professor Snape. Guess there's a new winner.
He shuddered as the spiders started to move in closer all around him. "I guess that's a no."
"Dance for us, Ronald." The hiss came from various places all around the clearing, and he froze where he stood. He hadn't heard that. He really hadn't. "Dance for us."
Something seemed to shift down around his feet, and he snapped his head down quickly. If some spider had managed to get underneath him, he was quite certain he was going to start throwing up. These spiders couldn't be banished with a spell, at least none he could cast right now, and even if he'd had his wand, Riddikulus wouldn't do much good on them.
As it turned out, it was an open question on which was worse: spiders under his feet, or what actually was there: tap shoes. The same kind of magical tap shoes he remembered Ginny having just a couple of years before he'd started Hogwarts. She'd given up the practice at some point while he, Harry, and Hermione were hunting down the Philosopher's Stone, and he hadn't seen them since. Until now. They gleamed in a deep shade of black that seemed to reflect all those spider eyes up at him, and Ron just groaned. It didn't look as if this nightmare was going to have to worry about being displaced from the top spot for a long time to come.
"Dance!" The word rose all around, in high tones and low, repeated over and over. "Dance for us! Tap-dance for us!!"
"No!" Ron backed up, hearing the shoes clicking as he did. He jerked to one side as a huge spider leg caressed against his side, his heels clicking yet again, moving in something that resembled one of the simpler routines he'd seen Ginny doing. "I don't want to tap dance! I don't!"
He flailed his arms helplessly about in an attempt to get his balance, almost falling over as another spider nudged him. Whichever way he moved, the heels clicked sharply and clearly, just as they were supposed to. He'd always hated that; no matter what kind of a surface Ginny was going over when she practiced, she'd always made that irritating tapping noise. It had even invaded his dreams a few times.
"The spiders!" He shrieked without even thinking about what he was saying. "The spiders are making me tap-dance! I don't want to!"
He was almost certain he heard Harry saying something, about telling those spiders. Well, whether it was something he'd heard or not, it was worth a try. He stood as firmly as he could, staring at the monstrosities that were staring at him. "No! I don't want to do this and I'm not going to!"
"Dance, Ronald." A fuzzy leg pushed him, and he clattered back. This was going splendidly. Except for the part where it wasn't. "Dance."
"Dance. Dance. Dance." Everywhere he moved, there were more spider legs poking at him and the dripping drooling sound of the command to dance and the sound of the tap shoes. "Dance. Dance. Dance."
He tried to jump away from one of them, screeching as he lost his balance and landed on an entirely different one. The way it moved just revolted him, kind of jerky and smooth at the same time. Nothing should move like that! He threw himself off of the thing, scrambling for the nearest bit of free space he could find, and stood there for a moment, trying to catch his breath.
"I am not going to tap-dance. I'm not, I'm not!" He shouted it as loud as he could, glaring at the spiders as they closed in around him. "I'm not!"
Some kind of sharp pain flared through his finger, and his eyes flew open to see Scabbers with his sharp rat teeth buried in his master's finger. Ron jerked his hand away and glared at his pet. "Scabbers! See if I give you any more tonic!" Just because he'd hit the poor little thing in his sleep was no cause to bite him.
He sagged back down onto his pillows, rubbing at his finger. Just a dream. That was all it had been. He couldn't remember ever being more grateful for that, either. But he was still going to find those tap shoes of Ginny's and see they were disposed of. Just in case they ever had to go see Aragog again.
On the other hand, if Harry ever wanted to go there again, just maybe Hermione could go instead of him. She'd probably love it.
He closed his eyes and curled back into the pillows. He'd told those spiders, at least.