A Sixth year (pre-HBP) story: Harry decides the best way to fight back is to take the DA to the next level. He succeeds better than he thought he would. In this chapter, Lupin again brings boggart...
Wednesday, September 11, 1996
The nineteen Sixth year students entered the Defense classroom and found their seats quickly. "Look at Malfoy," Hermione whispered to Ron and Harry.
"I wonder why he's rubbing his wrist?" Ron said softly.
Harry and Hermione rolled their eyes, and then Harry jerked his head at Ron. It would look less obvious if Hermione whispered in Ron's ear than if Harry did it. "He's a Death Eater, remember? That's where the Dark Mark is. Riddle must be causing it, somehow." Ron flushed, but nodded his understanding.
Remus Lupin strode briskly into the room, setting a crate in a far corner. "You may remember three years ago, our first lesson was with a boggart." A wave of giggles swept the room, as they all remembered Neville's solution. Even the Slytherins had found that funny.
"You're all older, and your greatest fear has likely changed. You really need to know what that fear is. You can be caught by a boggart unawares if you don't. And you may be better able to face that fear in general if you know what it is."
He looked around the room. "Why might this be more difficult than three years ago?" He waited until a hand went up. "Yes, Mister Zabini?"
"Three years ago, our fears were things like mummies or zombies, or other things which we could recognize at some level weren't really there. I mean, I still might run into a mummy, but I have been trained to fight them to some degree, and have an idea of where I am likely to run into one. Our greatest fears now are more likely the death of ourselves or a loved one, or perhaps their being hurt. How can we make the death of someone we care for, or our own, funny?"
"Exactly," Lupin agreed. "One point to Slytherin. In large part, it depends on the details. If you fear the death of a relative or friend, they will usually be shown to you merely laying there. Imagine them sitting up and rolling their eyes, or something equally silly. Imagine little cherubs singing around their heads. There is nothing inherently funny about any of the terrors of the mind; laughter destroys the boggart, but to break loose of its power, we merely have to recognize the situation as unreal. The power of a boggart is that they catch us unawares."
"There are sign-up sheets on my desk; you will all visit the boggart. On the one hand, by now this can be an intensely personal experience, and therefore you do have the option of facing it alone. On the other, it is easier and safer to face them when someone else is with you. The second and third options are to face it with just me or friend, another is to go as a group. If you witness someone else's boggart, they may watch you face yours. Take the next ten minutes to sign up for a time. If you schedule another time, please take a free period. Or, you may stay and face it as part of the class."
When Hermione started to stand up, Harry asked her to sit. Malfoy and Bulstrode quickly signed-up and walked out. Zabini, Moon, and Smith did the same. The SDA members, catching Harry's eye, milled around a little, but didn't sign up.
"Are you all staying?" Lupin asked, surprised.
"May we confer, Professor?" Harry asked.
"Of course, Mister Potter."
"What's the plan, Harry?" Seamus asked.
"I don't want any of us to face the boggart alone," Harry said. "We are a group, hopefully of friends as well as allies. Believe me, I understand this can be a very personal experience. If you don't want everyone, or anyone, to see, I understand, but like I said, please consider sharing with at least one other person."
"So this is a suggestion, not an order," Terry Boot stated.
"Exactly," Harry said.
"And you feel it's your place to offer such suggestions?" Boot asked.
"You must as well," Harry replied, "since you're here."
Boot frowned mightily. "I see your point, but I would prefer to expose my humiliation in front of as few people as possible."
"If no one else will go with you, I will," Harry said, "although I'd prefer to go with the larger group."
"I'll go with you," Anthony Goldstein said. He led Boot over to the sign-up sheet.
A few minutes later, Lupin moved the group to the corner near the door. "Who's first?"
Harry started to stand, but Ron held him back. "Sometimes, you have to send a scout," Ron said.
Lupin magically flipped the crate open, and Ron strode towards it.
Suddenly, Harry was in the corner, passionately kissing Hermione. Ron turned bright red, and barely managed not to turn to make certain the real Harry and Hermione were still behind them. He set his jaw. "Riddikulus!" Boggart Harry's robes billowed over his head, and his slacks fell down, showing Harry's boxers. The resulting laughter made the image blur, and Ron quickly moved to a neutral corner, not looking at anyone.
Parvati moved into the embarrassed scene. Hermione and Harry, who had gone back to kissing, blurred and suddenly her parents were laying dead on the floor. "Riddikulus!" Mrs. Patil suddenly started complaining about how her sari was badly draped on the floor and how her husband was laying in exactly wrong position for a wizard of his caste. Parvati backed up.
Lavender marched forward, and the two Patils shimmered and were replaced by a hugely obese woman, not really recognizable as Lavender herself. "Riddikulus!" The fat fell away, revealing a svelte Lavender in a string bikini. Lavender smirked and walked away.
"Down, Seamus!" Parvati commanded.
Lisa Turpin passed Lavender, smiling grimly. She was confronted by Terry Boot and Anthony Goldstein arguing and then wrestling each other to the ground in a vicious fight. "Riddikulus!" The two boys started kissing.
"Down Seamus!" Ron teased, moving back to join the group.
"Git!" Seamus said, walking forward. The two boys kissing turned into Parvati and Lavender, dead. "Riddikulus!"
"Oh, Seamus," Boggart Parvati moaned.
"That was wonderful, but exhausting!" Boggart Lavender cooed.
"Great revenge!" Ron said, earning himself a sharp elbow from Hermione.
Justin marched forward, and was confronted by himself, crouching, cowering, and crying in fear. Justin swallowed, and managed to say a shaky "Riddikulus!" and Boggart Justin's tears of terror transformed into tears of laughter.
"Come on back, Mister Finch-Fletchley," Lupin urged, since Justin did not seem to want to walk back, worried the others might think he was retreating too quickly.
Harry strode forward, and the laughing Justin disappeared. Nothing took its place. Harry stood looking at the empty space, puzzled. He looked over at Lupin.
Professor Lupin was gone.
Harry looked back.
Everyone was gone.
A moment of panic hit Harry, thinking it might be some plot by Voldemort, laid by Malfoy before he had fled the room. He was about to bolt from the room, when it hit him.
His current greatest fear could simply be being alone. He thought of a scenario, turned back to the corner and proclaimed, "Riddikulus!"
The walls of the classroom were suddenly hung with banners proclaiming 'Harry Potter Survives!' and confetti streamed down. The boggart exploded.
"What happened?" a puzzled Neville asked.
"Yes," Lupin asked, equally puzzled, "nothing seemed to happen."
"Exactly," Harry said. "There was nothing there, and when I looked around, you were all gone, or at least invisible to me."
"I don't get it," Ron said.
"His greatest fear is being alone," Hannah said simply. "Harry, we don't know each other very well, but I can promise you one thing; you will never be alone again in this life."
"That's right," Parvati said. "You will always have a place with all of us."
"Exactly what kind of place might depend on a lot of things," Lavender said in her most seductive voice, "but we'll work something out." She, Parvati, Hannah, and Susan all laughed at that.
"Shall we go on?" Lupin said. "I collected a fair number of boggarts last summer."
"Let's get this over with," Hermione said firmly.
"Anticipation will only make things worse," Susan agreed.
"I'll be right back."
Harry looked at Ron and Hermione, who were standing next to each other, but seemed very far apart. Harry walked up to Ron, whose ears went very red. "Now watch, Ron," Harry said, and to everyone's shock, he gathered Hermione gently in his arms and kissed her deeply.
Hermione was startled, but then returned Harry's embrace and kiss. After a very long moment, Harry and Hermione broke apart. "That was great, but I still prefer Luna."
"Let's see," Hermione said, wrapping her arms around Ron and pulling him down. "Come here, my bean pole of love," she managed to say with a straight face.
The shocked Ron leaned down, and soon they were in a passionate clench. It was the first time any of the group, other than Harry and Neville, had even seen them hold hands or share a peck on a cheek. Even Harry had only seen them share a brief kiss once.
"Oh, I say!"
The pair broke apart, Hermione for once blushing as much as Ron.
"That's okay, Professor," Seamus said, "she was just teaching Weasley how groundless his fears are."
As everyone smiled, Lupin asked, "Who wants to go first?" Another crate opened.
Ernie took a deep breath and walked towards it. Justin's sister appeared, in very revealing Muggle clothing. Ernie stood there, stunned as she slowly and sensuously moved towards him. She smiled seductively, revealing a set of fangs. She was a vampire.
"Riddikulus!" Her fangs fell to the ground.
Susan stepped past the retreating Ernie, and the figure shimmered, and became a snarling Umbridge. "Hem Hem!" the faux girlish voice went. "I understand now who has been sending those evil reports to the Ministry! This new quill will carve every bit of flesh off your bones, Bones!" Umbridge laughed, and Susan dropped her wand as her left hand covered the scar on her right. Gryffindors hadn't been the only victims of Umbridge's quill. Harry reflexively looked at the scars on the back of his own hand.
"Riddikulus!" Ron called out. Two tiny ponies appeared, clip-clopping towards Boggart Umbridge, who screamed and cowered even more convulsively than Justin's boggart had. Justin and Ernie pulled the sobbing Susan away. Neville walked forward.
Boggart Umbridge transformed into Boggart Neville. A mindless being, much like his parents on some of their worst days. The boggart merely sat and rocked. Neville hesitated, but no one moved, because he seemed to be thinking. Finally, Neville said, "Riddikulus!" and he turned the boggart into a Canary Cream version of himself.
Hannah moved ahead of Hermione. The canary turned into the nude, tortured body of Hannah herself, huddled in a fetal position -- burnt, bleeding, and bruised all over the body. She contemplated it in thoughtful horror. "Riddikulus!" she finally cried, and the body was covered in her magical clown baby blanket, the clowns tumbling around in a comical manner.
Hermione set her jaw and approached the boggart. Dead bodies littered the floor. Her parents, Weasleys, the SDA members, the staff, and most prominently, Harry. McGonagall stood up, bleeding from multiple wounds. "You're late, Miss Granger," Boggart McGonagall hissed. "If you had finished your research, all this would have been avoided. IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT!"
"RIDDIKULUS!" Boggart McGonagall's torn bloody robe was changed into the tartans of a Scottish sword dancer, and she started to dance a jig while wearing fuzzy pink bunny slippers.
Lupin approached the boggart, and it changed into the full moon. He guided it back into the box. "Two points each for all of you, for having the courage to show your fears to the group; two points each to everyone but Miss Bones for successfully fighting their boggarts. One point off collectively from Mister Weasley and Miss Granger for kissing in class; two points for Mister Weasley for his assistance to Miss Bones."
"I just couldn't think of anything!" Susan complained.
"How about her talking as a bass, instead of with that silly falsetto?" Harry asked.
"I'll try to remember that," Susan said. "Could you turn around, Professor Lupin?"
Puzzled, he did. Susan kissed Ron and Harry on the cheek. "Thank you, both."
"I heard that!" Lupin said, which made the group laugh.
"Off with you!" Lupin commanded as they quieted down.
"May I speak with you for a moment, Professor?" Harry asked.
"Of course. Go on, all of you." Lupin turned to Harry. "What may I do for you, Harry."
"Do the Fifth years have to do this?" he asked.
"If I can keep enough boggarts intact, I want to do everyone above the Second year," Lupin said. "Why?"
"If she wants, could I be with Luna when she faces hers?"
Lupin opened his mouth, but nothing came out. He thought and tried to speak again, stopped, and then he finally said, "If she wants. Don't pressure her, Harry."
"I won't, sir," Harry answered.
Friday, September 13, 1996
The rest of the day, and Thursday, and Friday morning were all quiet, although Malfoy's wrist was obviously giving him a great deal of trouble. Most of the DA were keeping an eye on him, and Friday morning, Blaise Zabini told Tracey Davis, who passed it on to Susan, who told Harry and Hermione, that Malfoy had kept the Sixth year Slytherin boys awake with his moans of pain.
Harry accompanied Luna to the Defense classroom for a 12:45 appointment, so that she could face her boggart.
"Any ideas what it might be?" Harry asked.
"Not really, or maybe there are too many," she said. "I could see Mummy's death again, or Daddy's, or yours, or someone's torture." She shrugged. "Since I don't know what my greatest fear is, I should find out."
They paused outside the classroom. "Remember, I love you," Harry said.
She smiled. "I know." She opened the door and they went in. A rather dazed Blaise Zabini exited past them. "Good luck," he muttered. "I HATE those things."
Lupin smiled from near the chalk board. "Are you ready, Miss Lovegood?"
She walked calmly forward. "Of course, Professor Lupin." The lid came off, and Boggart Harry appeared, making fun of her and saying hurtful, spiteful things.
Luna looked confused. "I'm supposed to be afraid of a mass of translucent purple and green hair?"
"WHAT do you see?" Lupin demanded.
"A mass of translucent purple and green hair, about six inches across . . . oh, and some yellow tentacles."
Lupin walked towards it, and the yelling Harry was replaced by the full moon. "Now what?"
Luna shrugged. "Nothing has changed. Why?"
Lupin guided the boggart back into the box and looked at Luna. "We saw a version of Harry appear and scream insults at you. When I approached, it turned into the full moon."
"Why didn't I see it, then?" Luna asked, puzzled.
"You didn't see the visions, because you Saw the boggart," Harry said. "Your Second Sight helps you See things as they are."
"That must be it," Lupin agreed. "Interesting."
Luna looked at Harry. "I am surprised my greatest fear is being rejected by you. I know you would never do that."
"It's difficult even for you to believe everything you See. You're sure of Harry's love, but you fear desertion, probably because of your Mother's death, and Harry's leaving you is the greatest manifestation of that fear right now," Lupin guessed.
"That makes sense."
"One point, for facing your fear, then, and one for Harry for his assistance."
That night, just before 11:30, Blaise went into his dorm room to sleep. Nott, Crabbe, and Goyle were sitting in the desk chairs, looking at the floor. Hearing him, they looked up. Seeing who it was, they looked back down.
"Where's Malfoy?" Blaise asked. All four shrugged their shoulders in far too casual ways to be believed.
"Where is he?" Blaise demanded.
"Go to bed," Nott said.
Blaise stared at the trio.
Nott stood up. Crabbe and Goyle stood as well. Blaise stared back at them.
"This is none of your concern," Nott said simply.
"You know I have to report this," Blaise said.
Nott appeared to think about that. He finally reached a conclusion. "You can't report what you don't know." He closed the curtains around Malfoy's bed. "You came in, we all had our curtains closed. When you wake up, and he's back, there's no harm done."
Blaise gave Nott a dirty look. "I promise you, no harm done," Nott said firmly, at least for him. "If he's not back by the time you all go jogging, then you can report it."
"Alright," Blaise said, "I accept your word. Nothing until Six-twenty." That was when Malfoy's alarm would go off to wake up the four joggers.
The four Slytherins went to bed, but of the four, only Blaise Zabini managed to fall asleep easily, and slept well that night.
Saturday, September 14, 1996/
Others were restless that night as well.
"What's wrong with her?" Merry Bishop asked Maureen Hughes softly.
"I don't know," the Ravenclaw prefect said. "Looks like a bad nightmare.
"I don't know how those two can sleep through it," Deborah Smith said.
"I don't know either, but let me make certain they do." Maureen cast a silencing spell over the two furthest beds.
"Do you think we ought to go get Collins or Patil?" Merry asked nervously.
"Not Collins," Deborah hissed. "She'll just take points and tell Chang so she can laugh."
"We laughed once, too," Maureen reminded them.
"No more," Deborah said firmly. "She's always been nice to us. It shouldn't have taken Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs to show us what a good friend she can be."
"Merry, go get Padma, but softly. We don't need all the Sixth years in here."
"No," Deborah said. "Edgecombe and Li's beds are the first two. They might wake up."
Merry considered. "Edgecombe might not wake up, but Li will. She might already up awake, the little sneak."
Deborah cast a silencing spell on the door. "If not, she won't be." She sat on the bed and stroked Luna's sweating brow. "We're here for you, Luna," she whispered.
One sleeper in Gryffindor was having an even more restless night. Harry had been sleeping better since his Occlumency lessons of the previous summer. It had therefore taken Ron a few minutes to realize what was happening. He had woken up, and just as the conversation in Ravenclaw had started, Neville and Seamus had stood next to Ron, who was sitting on Harry's bed.
"Do we wake him up?" Seamus asked.
"Should we get Hermione?" Neville wondered.
"This might be important." Ron said. "If something can break through Harry's Occlumency training, we'd better wait and see." Not being Ravenclaw girls, the three boys did not think to cast any silencing spells.
A few moments later, they wished they had. Harry awoke with a blood-curdling, bone-chilling set of screams that echoed throughout the dorms.
In Ravenclaw, Luna's less-intense scream was only heard by her three friends.
"Luna!" Maureen cried. "What is it?"
"Harry!" Luna responded. "Harry's in pain!"