16. Daddy Demented
Saturday evening the boys came back from the game wet and exhausted. James had taken a bludger to the shoulder and the Gryffindors had been pounded by the very grumpy, lion haired Slytherins. None of them could feel too horrible about it though since they were still in second place and the sight had been well worth it. Everyone in the school had gone to the game with their cameras and umbrellas. The boys swore to me that not a moment of the game had gone undocumented. The Prewwett boys had already started collecting copies from all over school to create a scrapbook.
It was several days later when I found myself again ambushed by the collective efforts of Lily and Severus. The two of them had been steadily becoming more of a unit than two separate individuals. During any of their free time, the two of them would be together, holding hands and being all…. Couple-like. They would even walk whole hallways out of their way to walk each other to classes. It was as if they had stopped being Sev and Lil and had instead become Snily, a single combined being that was hell-bent on making everyone else be couples as well.
"Dez, you've been sneaking off an awful lot lately." Severus pouted.
"Yeah. It's like you aren't even our friend anymore." Lily agreed.
"Guys, I love you both dearly, but hanging out with you is like being a butterscotch in a bowl filled with chocolate." I sighed. "Couples are completely foreign to me, and you guys have turned into ultra-couple. It's like you're a different species."
"Are we being too affectionate around you? I mean, we try not to, what with your whole Lupin issue and all, but I know we aren't very good at it." Lily frowned.
"Oh, I never thought of the Lupin thing! How could I be so insensitive?" Severus sighed heavily. "How about this, I'll set you up with Rosier's little brother? He's pureblood so your father will like him, and he's not a total prat, so you might too."
Lily rolled her eyes. "No, he's a jerk. How about Joshua Scamander he's a pureblood Ravenclaw and he's sweet as pie and smart to boot?"
"That's not half bad, Lily." Severus smiled.
"Snily!" I yelled. Both of them looked at me confused, but I shook my head. "I don't want to be a couple. I don't want you to set me up with some guy I don't know. I'm fine. I like hanging out with the Marauders and I like having time to myself. Severus, when was the last time you brewed a potion outside class, or even researched on one that's not on our list this year? Lily, when was the last time you had a girl's day and let Marlene paint your toe nails? I don't want that to be me right now. I want to still have a life of my own for a while longer."
Lily and Severus looked at each other for a bit. Severus was the first to talk. "She's right, you know? I haven't done anything for potions outside class since Halloween."
"That was the last time Marls did my hair for me." Lily frowned. "How about Friday the two of us go our separate ways after dinner?"
"Yeah. Dez and I can research some obscure potion and you can go have a girl's night with McKinnon." Severus nodded.
"Good job guys." I smiled softly and patted their shoulders. "Now, I have a date with a boys toilet that I'm going to charm to sing 'Oh come all ye faithful' whenever you try to flush it."
Severus groaned, throwing his head back. "Fantastic. Which toilet do I need to avoid?"
"Well, it wouldn't be fun if I told you." I grinned, winking at my friend. "Besides, the boys each have a toilet that their charming too, so I don't know all of them. Though I will say stay away from the one on the fifth floor. I heard it singing 'Barbie Girl' and it's really bad."
I giggled and ran off to do my 'chores' for my Marauder friends so that I wouldn't miss Defence Against the Dart Arts. I charmed the toilet and made it back to the DADA classroom with seconds to spare. The boys all chuckled, but Professor Jones just glared at me until I took my seat.
"Welcome class. I'm so glad that you all could make it." Professor Jones said as the class started digging their books out. "Unfortunately, you won't be needing your books today as the headmaster has informed me that as fifth years you have yet to face a boggart. This tells me of the incompetence of my predecessors as boggarts are usually covered in your third year, fourth at the latest. Anyways, if the class would please follow me to the Prefect's Bath, we will continue our lesson there."
There was a massive shuffling as we all repacked our book bags and stood to follow Professor Jones to the Prefect's Bath. The hallways seemed quieter than usual as the whole class seemed to be wondering what their boggarts might be.
"Please leave your school bags in the hall, as you will not be needing them. I assume that all of you know what a boggart is, but in case you didn't, Mr. Lupin, please tell the class what a boggart is." Professor Jones said as he held the door open for us all.
"A boggart is an amortal non-being that takes the form of its victim's worst fear. It's always best to face one in a group as it may get confused and turn into something that neither one fears." Remus said softly.
"Very good. For your textbook-like answer, you may go last, Mr. Lupin." Professor Jones praised lightly. He then walked over to one of the cupboards. "When I open this door, the class will take turns facing the boggart. It will be a tough lesson, so I hope you all trust each other. Please take a few moments to decide what your boggart will become and prepare a defence strategy. Laughter is its biggest weakness so think of a way to make your fears funny, if you can."
I frowned and thought for a few moments while nervously playing with Moony's ring. What was my biggest fear? Rejection as a Potions Master? No, I had other ambitions if that fell though. Public humiliation? Well, probably, but what would it turn into? The memory of my brother's pet snake he had before he came to Hogwarts surfaced in my mind. The feel of its smooth scales across my shoulders and it's hissing breath in my ear. Yes, it would turn into a snake. Oh, how could I face a snake in front of a classroom of Gryffindors? How could I let them see that I was scared of my own house's mascot? How could I make a snake funny?
"You look like you're freaking out…." Remus said softly from behind me. Several of the other students had already taken resolute poses and stared forward with steely gazes. "What are you scared of, Desari?"
"Snakes." I whispered, hoping no one would hear. "And people finding out my greatest fear. I mean, I may be friends with the marauders, but this is still a class of my rivals."
"Snakes." He sighed. "Okay. When the snake appears, imagine it with dentures in its mouth instead of fangs. Try to react fast, because Gryffindor's respect bravery. You've got this Dez."
I pictured the image in my head, and while it was still slightly scary, I was sure that at least the Marauders would laugh. I rolled my shoulders and stared at the cupboard with determination.
"Time is up, class. Has everyone settled on a plan?" Professor Jones asked softly. Most of the students nodded, some confident others scared. James had an arrogant grin plastered on his face and Peter looked as if he may be ill. "James Potter, what is your greatest fear."
"Nothing sir. We have nothing to fear but fear itself." James said proudly.
"We shall see about that." Professor Jones smiled. "James please step to the front of the class. If your assessment of yourself is correct, we should get to see what a boggart looks like when it's alone, for the first time in recorded history."
James bravely walked to the front of the class. Professor Jones waited until he stopped walking before opening the cupboard. Out of the darkness crawled James, blood covered and coughing. Slowly, the anti-James struggled to his feet, where we could see that several fatal wounds and looked James in the eye. "T-tell her I l-love…"
"Riddikulus!" James cried and the anti-James coughed again and then pulled a very long red scarf from his mouth with a grin. Several people laughed, though a few looked to be even more scared.
"Very good, James. Next up is Anastasia Bones." Professor Jones smiled as Ana Bones stepped forward and James joined Sirius and Peter on the side-lines. Ana Bones faced down a clown and Peter scarred us all by bringing a ventriloquist dummy to life. Lily was scared of spiders and finally Professor Jones called my name. I stepped forward to the front of class and just before the boggart turned to me, a horrible thought crossed my mind. I wasn't nearly as scared of snakes as I was scared of…
Abraxas Malfoy's sneering face met mine just as I was forming the thought. His aristocratic features were immaculate as always and his wand turned on me. "Confringo!" My boggart-father called and I moved out of the way just in time to watch the curse dispel in a burst of flame just to my left. Abraxas laughed hollowly. "You killed her you worthless squib! Crucio!" This time I couldn't move fast enough and the spell hit me square in the chest. It didn't hurt like the real cruciatus curse, but it hurt enough to tear a scream from my throat. Remus Lupin jumped in front of me, and I could just see Professor Jones jumping in front of him.
I didn't stick around to see what would happen now, I just scrambled to my feet and fled the room. I kept running until I found myself completely lost, somewhere in the forbidden forest. I crawled up into the nearest tree and sat on one of the upper branches and cried. I couldn't believe that a boggart had been how people found out about my father's abusive nature… let alone the hints about my mother's death by my hands.
I stayed in the forbidden forest until long after my tears had dried up and by the time the sun began to set and the forest grew darker, all that was left of my earlier pain was the burn of humiliation. I slowly climbed down from the tree and started the long trek back to where I thought the school might be.