Summary: Nobody knows what Draco fears and he wants to keep it like that. When the Gryffindors and Slytherins are placed together for Defence Against the Dark Arts classes and made to face a boggart it will surely end badly. Harry x Draco (slash)
Rating: Not sure about the rating for this piece... will probably contain slash, don't like it, don't read it, it's as simple as that. I'll call it a T...
Disclaimer: I don't own this yadda yadda yadda. I don't own Harry Potter or the characters or anything else.
Now on with the story!!
It was good to be Draco Malfoy. As I walked towards the Defence against the Dark Arts room, the hordes of queuing students parted like a group of frightened house elves... Or like when that muggle man who managed to part the Red sea ages ago. Blaise, Pansy and I had bagged our usual desks at the very back of the room and were just beginning to get our books out when the others started to file in.
I had already made up my mind that this year I would try much harder in this subject and to improve my grades. Father would be so proud of me by the time of the OWLs rolled around that he would be practically singing my praises. Well...that was until I found out whom the teacher was... And moreover, who we had our classes with.
Gryffindors, we were sharing this class this year with the Gryffindors. Throwing together a group of Lions with a group of Snakes certainly was not the best plan idea that Dumbledore has ever had. Potions was bad enough without curses being thrown about too. Ah, yes... There was the golden trio now. Led by Potter they took seats to the left of ours, obviously favouring the back as much as us. This surprised me a little, as those three were suppose to be representations of all that was good and pure – surely these little boffins would want a front row seat in learning defence.
Dumbledore had reemployed the werewolf this year, which obviously proved how slim the pickings were for Defence against the Dark arts teacher.
As he entered the classroom and threw done his battered briefcase I gave a suffering long sigh. He looked as ratty and as untidy as I seemed to remember, perhaps a few more patches on his robes than before. The years had obviously done nothing to improve his visage. It seemed that the sixth year of my schooling, (like the third,) would be taken up with the scruffy man once again. I rolled my eyes... every hope I had of raising my grade had gone completely out the window.
After a good ten minutes I realized I had not taken in a word he had said since entering the room. The quill that I was stroking through my fingers commanded much more of my attention than what the werewolf did at any rate. I thought leisurely back to third year when Snape had ousted his hairy little secret at dinner. I half wish I could have seen the look on my father's face when whatever associate of his passed on the news. When it is not directed at mother or me, watching father fly into one of his characteristic rages is highly entertaining. For once, I may actually understand the point of one of these little fits of fury. Having a half-breed for a teacher is disgusting...Hagrid barely counts as a half-breed as I tend to think of him as rather less than human...
Although my chances at being an O grade student dashed, I supposed I should pay attention all the same. I set my quill down rather reluctantly.
"Now, I've been looking back over the work that all of your year's classes have been doing in Defence against the Dark Arts," Lupin waved a piece of parchment cheerily for us all to see. "It's sad to see the dramatic decrease in marks since I last left you," he did not sound very sad. If it was anyone other than the scruffy werewolf I would almost say he sounded smug.
"On this page are your test scores from the previous exam that we did together in your third year. I see that many of you did not gain very high results on this particular test." He eyes flickered towards mine for a split second before continuing to look around the room.
Ah yes... I remembered that test well. The aftermath of this particular failure had resulted in a vicious lecture from my father. An 'Acceptable' wasn't that bad though was it? I only messed up on that nasty little marsh creature that persuaded me to wade waist high into mud. Consequentially this meant that I did not get to finish the rest of the exam therefore forfeiting many marks...Stupid Hinkypunk.
"We are going to split the test up into areas of particular difficulty and do a recap for each spell or procedure each lesson..."
Oh joy. Here I was thinking we may actually get to learn something this year instead of recapping three years worth of crap.
"The part that most of you failed at during the exam happened to be fighting off the effects of the boggart. As this requires quite a lot of mental concentration, I have decided that this is what today's lesson should consist of. We'll repeat the exercise and have a warm up first."
Lupin was smiling at all of us happily as though he had just professed to give us a great treat. If this was his idea of a pleasant surprise, I sure as fuck did not want to get on his bad side...
"First of all I want you to close your eyes..."
Rolling my eyes at Blaise who grinned back at me sardonically, I did so with bad grace, rolling my eyes at Blaise who grinned back at me sardonically. The last time our class, along with the Ravenclaws, had been forced to confront the boggart both I, Blaise and several others had all professed to be ill, dashing out of the class hurriedly. Not even the after effects of the class where everyone gushed at how good the lesson had been had changed my mind for one instant.
I can deal with fear as long as it is on my own terms. For me fear is all about being in the moment. If an occasion inspires genuine fear within me I can, (in most cases,) find ways to deal with it effectively and privately. Not in front of the whole class though...not in front of the werewolf, and certainly not in front of the golden trio.
"Think of the thing that scares you the most..."
I tried desperately to think, knowing this was the last chance before nightmares became reality. Plenty of things scared me, none of which I felt like sharing. But which one scared me the most? I had never really considered it before.…
"And try to find a way to make it amusing..."
What a bloody impossible task this was turning out to be! I cracked my eyes open a fraction to look around at everyone else. Blaise was clenching his fist tight upon the desk making his knuckles stand out under the tanned skin. I thought sadly that he must be thinking about his father. We've shared a dormitory for too long not to be familiar with each other's nightmares...
Pansy was wearing the same look upon her face that she got whenever she looked at a particularly ugly insect. Her pouty lips were moving quietly and I managed to catch something along the lines of "squash them all with the heel of my boot – horrible little buggers..."
"Ok, and open your eyes everybody..."
What – no wait! I hadn't chosen! Though, I thought with a sinking heart, even if I had had another week or two to mull it over I would still be left wondering. I gave myself a mental shake. I had had since third year to think about this – why was I coming up blank now? All I could think was that the boggart would be spoiled for choice in my case, an unlimited amount of fears to call upon at will.
"Harry, would you like to go first?" asked Professor Lupin warmly, gesturing at the travelling case he had brought along which was shaking slightly.
And Here I was thinking that he wouldn't play favourites. If the werewolf was biased... I was royally screwed.
Potter nodded his head looked pleasantly determined. He obviously knew what form his boggart would take was going to turn into. Instead of watching the golden boy show off for the class, I decided to use the time available to concentrate on my own fear. Just as I was casting my mind about, trying to isolate one particularly nasty phobia, Blaise nudged me in the ribs and put his lips up to my ear.
"I heard that Potter got full marks in that test," he whispered. "I only got 80%! How about you Draco?"
"62%," I said uncomfortably, my eyes fixed on Potter's back. Maybe by watching the boy wonder I could pick up some useful tips...
Blaise grinned at me before he settled back in his seat to survey Potter like the rest of the class.
"Now," said Lupin who seemed to be rather looking forward to this lesson...much more than could be said for me I'm sure. "We're going to practice this under test conditions alright? Each person who fights the boggart will be doing so alone to start with. No input from the rest of you, understand? If you cannot fight the boggart back after four or five attempts, I will intervene. Harry, it's all yours..."
Potter stepped up to the packing case as Lupin undid the latch closing it. Several people gasped and Longbottom tripped backwards over a chair as a Dementor rose out of the case. One slimy hand was reaching forwards; the other had risen to its hood.
It was going to touch Potter with that hand! The dead decaying flesh was coming closer and closer to his face while the other was now clenching around the hood about to pull it down.
"Riddikulus!" Potter shouted flicking his wand at the Dementor floating in front of him.
I watched in relief as the rotting robes that held the creature transformed in one fluid motion to become a light pink ball gown. It reminded me slightly of what Pansy had worn when I had taken her in forth year to the Yule ball in fourth year... The thought made me smile in spite of myself.
I hadn't even realized that one of my hands had balled into a fist while watching Potter face his fear. I loosened it hastily and flexed my fingers.
"God he's good," Blaise whispered in a disappointed undertone. His words were masked by the barrage of laughter emanating from the class as the pink dress clad Dementor stumbled about in confusion. "I was half hoping –"
"Excellent Harry!" called Professor Lupin over the noise and I felt my features twist into a scowl. Of course, Potter would do it perfectly. "Blaise Zabini – you next please!"
Blaise nudged my arm and smirked as he got up. "Let me show you how it's done Draco," he whispered. I smirked and kicked him.
As the sightless Dementor turned its rotting sallow face upon Blaise, its features seemed to melt and distort. A dark skinned man was standing before the class, black eyes fixed intently on Blaise. I felt a stab of pity for him which was soon replaced with molten terror. What if the Dementor turned into my father before the whole defence against the dark arts class when it was my turn?
"Is that Mr. Zabini?" asked Pansy quietly as she scooted up along the bench to be closer to me. "The one he has nightmares about?" Her face was a picture of sympathy and sadness as we both let our eyes stray to where our friend was standing, his wand shaking, in the middle of the room. The man was shouting random things all at once, a combination of things such as "disgrace to the family name!" and "Don't know how I can even call you my son!"
Blaise's face was beginning to flush and he raised his wand unsteadily. "Riddikulus!" he yelled but the man laughed at him coldly.
"You always were useless, you pathetic blood traitor! Not even an ounce of talent in your miserable being –"
"Something funny Blaise, come on," Pansy whispered frantically, gripping my hand so hard I feared it might break. I too was finding it difficult to watch one of my best friends be shouted at and humiliated in front of the rest of the class. Said class were looking uneasy as Blaise's father leant in close to his face and hissed in a voice of pure hatred, "I wish you'd never been born..."
Mr. Zabini's robes transformed into an all in one cat suit; the red and orange stripes doing nothing for his image. Blaise looked faintly amused alongside his partly traumatized expression and he abandoned his extremely unfashionable father (who was plucking at the material looking mortified) to sink back into his seat between myself and Pansy.
"See," he said shakily, punching me on the shoulder. "P-Piece of cake..." I laughed while Pansy patted him consolingly on the back.
"Weasley – forward!"
Weasley's irrational fear of spiders was dealt with almost immediately; the roller skates conjured making it slip and slide in all directions. I had to roll my eyes at the shear idiocy of it. Surely, Weasley, being a Harry Potter groupie and present at several life-endangering moments had something to fear bigger than spiders... If that is all he had to worry about, he was going to live a long and happy life.
Pansy's determined face made me feel immensely proud. Both Blaise and I gave her a little nudge and a few murmurs of "good luck," before she stood before the erratic spider.
The spider shifted and convulsed before becoming...
Well that was a shock. Here I was thinking we would see a cockroach meandering towards us and instead we get a dead wizard. I began to stand up, intending to tug her back, cast a spell, anything to get her away from the corpse that was walking blindly towards her. Blaise placed a hand on my shoulder to hold me down. "Don't," he hissed as he applied more pressure. "We don't want her to fail!"
Pansy's face was smoothly calculating as she said clearly: "Riddikulus!"
A silver dagger impaled itself in the chest of the Inferius and Pansy giggled quietly as the dead body looked at her with baleful eyes. The class was deadly silent, seemingly horrified by the weird nature of my friend. Blaise turned towards me with raised eyebrows and a wry smile.
"We'll have to keep an eye on that one," he stage whispered and the class seemed to breathe again.
"Um, well done Miss Parkinson!" said Professor Lupin, obviously disturbed but covering it well with a huge smile. He had written up Potter's, Weasley's, Blaise's and Pansy's names upon the board with a number next to each.
"What do the numbers mean?" I asked Pansy who had slipped into the seat next to me.
"Number of tries I think," she said, tucking a stray piece of hair behind her ear blithely. "I can't believe I did it in one go! I'm beating you Blaise!"
Longbottom's boggart of Snape, transfigured into a short black leather dress complete with feather boa and fingerless gloves was not as amusing as it should have been. I allowed myself one very forced laugh before sinking back into my state brooding.
Neither Theo's coursework on fire nor Millicent's fear of toads could make me crack a smile. I hardly deserved to laugh at them when my own amount of humiliation lay in their hands.
Students continued to file past to face the boggart. I suppose I should have been paying more attention...father would be disappointed to learn that here I was with a cast iron excuse to pry into each and every person's worst fear and to exploit it and yet...
I laughed only half-heartedly as Granger's pathetic boggart of professor McGonagall screeched loudly about all the subjects she had failed to pass. I was beginning to feel sicker and sicker with every passing student.
The resentment for my classmates was building up in my throat like bile making me want to run from the room. How did the Patil girl transform the snake so easily into a muggle toy? How did Weasley conjure roller blades for the spider? This required a different type of quick thinking to the one I was used to. It was one thing to reply in verbal battle with a sharp and cutting remark, quite another to summon an amusing image from thin air.
"Malfoy, you're up!"
Oh Merlin! Most people in the room (Gryffindors) had all turned to use my own smirk against me. Oh how I was starting to regret my mocking behaviour of their antics. Perhaps if I had kept my head down a little more this year the resulting laughter for these next actions would be slightly less. Too late now though with all the Gryfindork's leers aimed in my direction...
"Draco, sweetie, are you alright?" Pansy inquired, nudging me when I did not move.
I realized what I must look like, frozen in place like a statue while the class waited impatiently for me to take my turn. The word 'pathetic' sprang to mind.
"Come on Ferret, shift your skinny arse!" Weasley yelled from the back of the room and the class twittered appreciatively. I made sure to scowl at him thoroughly. While I was going through the procedure of glaring at the golden trio my eyes lighted upon Potter who was grinning like a loon. What was his problem? Oh...right. Probably the fact that I mocked him for being scared of Dementors in our third year. Or because I constantly insulted him and his friends. Or maybe even because the look on my face was priceless, the look that Pansy likes to call 'scared shitless'.
Maybe the insult that Weasley had so lovingly thrown in my direction could be useful. Perhaps I feared being turned back into a ferret? That would certainly be easier to deal with as most of my peers were regrettably familiar with this unfortunate event in forth year... I began wishing fervently that it was not worse than seeing myself being turned once again into a small rodent.
'I'm coming you stupid mutt!' I felt like yelling at him. Why were they all putting me under so much pressure? I would surely explode with tension before I even reached the boggart.
As hesitantly as I dared, I rounded the desk with deliberate slowness. Walking towards Finnegan's previously discarded snake boggart felt like walking to the gallows. I was just out of range for it to change shape but close enough to see the smooth shiny scales of the boa constrictor. Way too close, in my opinion.
I twisted my head around to see the rest of the class just to check that no one was laughing at me. Blaise gave me a discreet thumbs up and Pansy gave an encouraging nod forwards. These moments of comfort were shattered of course when Weasley called from the back "Get on with it, you coward!" Potter elbowed him in the ribs, which I was thankful for...yet confused. There was no time to think about that now. This was it.
Do or die.
I stepped up to face the boggart.
It began to spin, faster and faster, a mess of blurry shapes and images, trying to pick out my fear. The class behind me was muttering gleefully, clearly thrilled at finding out Draco Malfoy's worst fear...
Obviously trying to turn it into a ferret with sheer will power was not going to cut it. Nothing resembling a white rodent seemed forthcoming much to my chagrin.
The transformation stopped abruptly and I gazed in shock at what the snake had transformed into. I was standing absolutely still staring at...
Myself. The exact mirror image of me. He stood two feet away from me, exactly a complete replication same, down to the very last hair. I felt my mouth drop open in surprise and felt creeped out when my clone did not copy the action. This was like looking in a mirror...and having your reflection defy you. The only thing that seemed about accurate was the look of borderline terror on my face. But no, perhaps that was not quite true. My double looked as though he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, biting down hard on his lip and gripping a wand in a slightly sweaty hand.
The left sleeve of his robes had been pushed back (or had it been torn off?) to reveal a pitch-black skull and snake tattoo, twisting and writhing on pale flesh.
I felt like screaming now. I knew what this scene reminded me of, and if it was at all like my memory promised, it was sure to be unpleasant. I had had this recurring nightmare for as long as I could remember...ever since I had first heard the word 'Death Eater'. It was my promised fate from birth, following me from the cradle right into the inner circle of the Dark Lord's supporters. Blaise had woken me many times from this night time terror and I did not dare to glance at him now. My whole attention was fixed on my double.
Now being fully able to appreciate what was coming I raised my wand arm quickly. Fuck. What was that incantation again?
I could hear the whispers behind me as clear as day all of them speculating as to my fear. Did I fear showing weakness? Did I fear being afraid? I allowed myself an internal splutter of hysterical laughter. Afraid of being afraid? That was much too noble for me. My fear was much more run of the mill...much more than common in the circles I had been brought up to associate myself in.
What to hell was that incantation?
"My Lord," my voice was cracked and hoarse and, to my great embarrassment, nothing short of pleading. "My Lord I beg you! I am faithful; I have always been faithful to you..." The eyes of my twin face were extremely wide, too huge for the pasty face.
Think about the spell – what was the spell?
"Liar..." The voice seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere at the same time. It appeared to come from the walls themselves, reverberating around the room and going through my heart like a stake.
The voice of the Dark Lord.
There were many gasps and shrieks from behind me as Voldemort's voice rang through the classroom but none seemed louder than that of my boggart. The tiny intake of panicked breath through numb white lips was enough to send an electric charge though my blood. It chilled me.
Said almost lovingly, the curse hit me in the chest and in a second, I was on the floor screaming. The scream was that of a man on fire, a man doomed to die. I remembered the feeling of a thousand knives on my skin, a white-hot poker pressed to the flesh of my forearm. A feeling akin to nothing else...a feeling worse than everything else...
I stood incredibly still watching as my boggart crumpled to the floor and curled up, moaning and screaming. The scream was too high and penetrating, a shrill note I did not even realize I was capable of.
It is strange to see yourself tortured... you can see your body writhing; crying and yelling but feel nothing but shock. Seeing my body shuddering and jerking was starting to pull at my nerves now and though it could not have been more than a minute since my go began, it felt like hours.
"Riddikulus!" I have no idea where I managed to pull that word out of but I was far from complaining.
Boggart Draco had disappeared to be replaced with... Another boggart Draco. Was I to reoccur in all my fears? This time was different though... at the feet of my duplicate were other bodies, dead, unmoving, lifeless... My mother stared up at me with empty eyes, her head resting on Blaise's unmoving chest.
There was obviously nothing funny I could make out of that! Moving on...
Harry Potter lay in front of my shiny black school shoes, a mess of blood and exposed flesh. Arms, legs and other vital parts seemed mangled and pointing in the wrong directions, like they had been snapped one by one. Gashes were decorating the neck and face like it had been slashed at with a cutting jinx. Harry Potter – the-boy-who-lived, the golden boy, the defender of the weak and needy – was dead at my feet.
It was all I could do not to be sick. I felt an acidic taste fill my mouth and my stomach churn violently. Please don't let me be sick on Harry Potter's body...
Nothing in the whole world could make this situation amusing. Nothing. Perhaps if Potter sprang up from his slumped state of gory death and yelled 'SURPRISE!' – but maybe not even then.
Lupin seemed to finally deemed it time to intervene. He stood close enough by my side that his toes touched Potter's bloody and broken fingers. I looked away in shame as the body of my enemy began to spin in dizzying circles before transforming into a full moon. I could not help begrudging Lupin's easy phobia compared to my own complicated fears.
I was determined not to over analyze my Potter related fear just yet. I would think about that when my stomach settled. If my stomach ever settled. I doubted I would ever feel normal again after this.
This was a terrible lesson. No wonder my grades were far from perfect. From that moment on, I swore to pledge my allegiance to the noble art of potion making.
Allegiance – I winced at the word. I no longer wanted to pledge my allegiance to anything or anyone. It reminded me so vividly of the vow of commitment that I was soon to make, one which came with a complimentary tattoo.
I barely noticed as Professor Lupin summoned the boggart back into the packing case or as Pansy stood up to usher me back to my seat. I really didn't notice as my friends asked my repeatedly if I was alright. What I did notice with my wholehearted attention was the expression on Potter's face.
He was staring at the floor where his body had been just moments before. His face betrayed nothing but shock. I wished, just for a moment, that I could look at his eyes. He really did have the most expressive eyes I've ever seen. He was a Gryffindor through and through, always wearing his heart on his sleeve. I was sure that if I could just look into his eyes I would find...what? Disgust? Horror? Intrigue? Whatever he was feeling could not be a shadow of the confusion warring away inside of me that was for sure.
Even as I chanted this wish inside my head, Potter's eyes flicked onto my own. Oh yes...confusion. And shock, a lot of shock. The look was appraising, questioning, like he was about to march right up and confront me this second.
Not being able to hold the look for even a second, I looked away first. I wished I hadn't. It made me feel somehow guilty, like I had let myself down by backing away first.
Glancing around for something else to look at, my eyes found the chalkboard. My name was the only one with a large white '3' next to it. For ever onwards I would have to look upon the number three with as much scorn and contempt as possible. Number three – the number of shame.
Father would be so displeased... Maybe if I angled the story to make it seem as if the werewolf's teaching that was to fault the blow would be only slightly less.
I tried not to look at Potter's giant chalky number 'one' as it felt like a bludger to the stomach. Always, always, better than me. Why should I even be surprised that he got a 'one'? That's what Harry Potter was, wasn't it...Number one. Top dog. Golden boy.
I could barely hear the werewolf congratulate the class (and tactfully forget to mention my glorious fuck up) as my ears were ringing.
"Crucio, Crucio, Crucio, Crucio, Crucio!" The ring in my ears sounded like the singsong version of the curse almost as if it were said by...
Oh Merlin... (I banged my head on the desk vigorously) ...the last thing I wanted to think about now was Aunt Bellatrix. I was damn lucky that the boggart did not become her given the fact that she scares me shitless...
I bolted out of my chair as the words left his lips, stuffing my books randomly into my bag, not caring for bending the covers or breaking the spines. I just had to get out of there.
The fact that Pansy was calling after me sounding worried was unimportant.
The fact that Lupin was gazing at me with pity in his eyes never crossed my mind.
The fact that Potter's eyes followed me as I rushed across the room definitely did not make my heart lurch in a funny way.
No. The door - the wonderful, wooden, unreachable door – so close, so close...
Of course, I probably would have reached it a whole lot faster had I not tripped over the trailing strap of my own school bag and went sailing head first into the wall.
The last thing I saw before falling unconscious was Harry Potter's furrowed brow, (which did not completely disguise the amused expression on his face) leaning over me. Honestly, how could this day get any worse?