Harry Potter and the ? (Prisoner of Azkaban)

The Boggart in the Wardrobe

Remus got wearily to his feet, and Harry noted with some concern he looked paler than he did yesterday. Was this book really taking that much out of him? He wanted to ask, but felt it slightly rude, so he kept himself quite as Remus went to his chapter.

Malfoy didn’t come back to classes until Thursday,

“Really,” Sirius demanded “he milked that injury for almost four days!”

Harry’s face twisted in annoyance, fighting down the urge to say that it was probably longer than that.

“Look on the bright side,” Lily smirked “he probably had to make up all that work. I know none of those teachers fell for that.”

“Oh wait,” James pouted “how come you haven’t had Remus’ class yet?” ‘Plus, has Harry really gone four days without talking to him’ he added in his head, biting at his lip and trying to not snap at his friend for that. What possible reason could he have now for avoiding Harry? Dumbledore surely wasn’t still stopping him now?

“We didn’t have it until that afternoon” Harry said, also still eyeing Remus curiously as he realized the same thing.

There was a sticky silence for a moment as they all realized this fact, but aside from Remus ducking his head and fidgeting with the sleeve of his robes in agitation, no one said anything this time.

and he chose his moment to reappear in Potions, marching into the room with his arm in bandages looking much like a man acting like he’d returned from some dramatic battle.

“I’d like to see how he does in a real fight” James snapped bitterly.

“Probably run away, or hide the whole time” Sirius agreed.

Pansy was by his side in a moment, asking how he was feeling, and Draco admitted it still hurt a lot, while giving his friends an obvious wink when she turned her back.

“Subtle” Remus frowned in annoyance.

Snape’s only response to the talking was to tell them all to settle down.

Lily rolled her eyes in annoyance, knowing full well he wouldn’t have done that to any other student. His attitude was really starting to tick a nerve with her.

Harry wasn’t any more pleased with his teacher’s attitude in that moment, knowing full well that if anyone else had come in like that he’d have given them a detention instead.

“Glad we’re all on the same page” James grumped, keeping an eye on Lily to see if she agreed. To his surprise, she did seem to.

Considering Malfoy was in Snape’s house though, and Snape was well known for favoring the Slytherin’s, no one was surprised at the exchange. What did shock them, was when Malfoy dragged his cauldron over to where Harry and Ron were working.

“Oh, this is just going to be brilliant” Sirius scowled in pure annoyance.

Then he raised his hand, and told his teacher that he couldn’t cut up his own plants with just one arm.

Lily grimaced, knowing that would have been an actual concern had something really been wrong with him, but one there wasn’t a thing wrong with his arm, and two he should get his friends to help him; not pick on her son.

Snape didn’t even flinch as he told Ron to do it for him.

All five of them muttered something foul under their breath, knowing full well this was going to drag on, and already hating it.

Ron had to bite his tongue to stop himself from throwing insults at one or both of them, but did as told and started lopping the roots to bits in uneven squares.

Lily couldn’t help but give a vindictive smirk, knowing full well she would have done the same thing as this would completely ruin that little jerk’s potion.

Malfoy hardly looked surprised, as he called back to Snape that Ron had just ruined his roots.

“Dang it,” James frowned “I wasn’t even sure he’d realize that was important.”

Snape came over to have a look himself, smiling at Ron in a very unpleasant way.

“Know that look all too well” Sirius grumbled, his face twisting around with dislike.

“What did I do to deserve this chapter” Remus huffed. “We’d gone so long without having to deal with this guy.”

Then he told Ron and Malfoy to swap ingredients, and Ron began to protest as he’d spent the whole of the class putting effort into making sure his own roots were replicas of each other.

“Wow,” James said in surprise “credit to him for that dedication.”

Snape wouldn’t hear it, telling Ron to do it and getting a dangerous tone.

James had to bite his tongue to hold back his comment that he didn’t find Snape very dangerous at all, but he reminded himself of the age difference again.

Ron did with as much silent protest as possible, then Malfoy reminded he was going to need something skinned as well, and Snape instructed Harry to do that with a look of hatred he reserved just for Harry.

“I should feel really special huh?” Harry grumbled.

“Nah,” Sirius smirked “remember, he’s going to be sharing that look with Remus from now on.”

That at least caused Remus and James to chuckle, while Lily was quickly losing her patience with all of these boys.

Harry did as told, trying to ignore Malfoy who leaned over and asked if they’d spoken to Hagrid recently.

Harry scowled even more heavily, more than frustrated he was no longer allowed down at his friend’s place to help cheer him up.

Then he kept going, giving a heavy fake sigh as he told how his dad was not happy to hear about him getting hurt, and Hagrid was going to be getting the sack any day now because of it.

“Your father can bite my-”

“James,” Lily cut him off, matching him glare for glare “you lot shouldn’t be cussing so much, it’s still a bad habit with the baby around.”

Sirius rolled his eyes and grumbled something about how he still couldn’t understand them, but Remus decided to keep going anyways.

Ron told Malfoy if he didn’t shut up he’d give him a not so fake injury.

That drew a smirk from James and Sirius again, very much hoping Ron would make good on that threat soon.

Malfoy ignored him, still talking that his father had already talked to the school governors and the Minster, his dad kept a lot of important company.

“Remembered vividly as the guy who tried to blackmail the school governors” Remus reminded in forced light tones.

“Why’s he bragging to you anyways,” Lily demanded “it’s not like you care.”

“Search me” Harry huffed.

Then he gave a tragic look at his folded arm and lamented it may never properly work again.

“Next time I’ll make sure it actually is ripped out of socket” Sirius snarled a little too forcefully it seemed, since the baby in his lap gave a little whine of displeasure. Sirius forced himself to relax and give the kid a cuddle then to relax them both.

Harry snapped that this was why Malfoy was acting like this, while taking the head off of a dead caterpillar,

“At least it was already dead” Remus said weakly, trying to force some humor into Harry’s outraged face. Harry ignored him.

all to get rid of Hagrid!

James let out a string of words he thought quite appropriate, but low enough under his breath he didn’t think Lily heard him.

Malfoy agreed that would be a bonus, but for now he was enjoying himself with this, while shoving his own caterpillars at Ron and telling him to cut those up as well.

“Is he really going to do this until he stops faking his injury?” Sirius demanded, looking faint.

“How long can he milk that?” James demanded of nothing.

No one had an answer for either of them.

Not too far away, Snape was having his own enjoyment of striking fear into Neville again. It didn’t help that Potions was the boy’s worst subject, but having Snape hovering around made him even clumsier than usual.

Lily’s eyes kept narrowing the longer Remus kept going, so that it looked like she was squinting over at him, but the expression was so terrifying none of the boys really wanted to call her out on it.

Personally, James was rather pleased at this. It was horrible what Snape was doing to Neville, but it seemed Lily wasn’t going to be defending him much longer. It honestly blew his mind how she still was, considering there last rather public conversation.

Snape was currently berating Neville for his potion being the wrong color, in this case orange. He listed the many reasons why this was wrong and what Neville had done to it, then demanded what he had to do to get through his thick head.

Lily was bright red in the face by the end of this, so Harry, feeling they may as well get the explosion over with, told her “Mom, you look like you’re fixing to start screaming here soon.”

Lily sucked in a very deep breath, then said in an almost steady voice “probably, but I’m trying not to.” She trailed off into foul mutterings about how that wasn’t any way to treat someone who had messed up, but when she sat back and made it clear she was still trying to keep it under, Remus decided to keep reading while he could.

Neville flushed and looked down in shame, trying to keep his to bright eyes out of sight. Hermione said she could help fix it, but then Snape turned on her, telling her to quit showing off, causing the girl to flush as bad as Neville.

“That man has no bounds” Remus scowled, now he was turning on Hermione just for offering to help.

Then Snape told Neville that when class was over, they were going to use this destroyed potion on his toad,

“He what!” They all yelled in outrage.

“He can’t do that!” Remus spluttered “that’s endangering his pet.”

While Harry was just as furious as anyone else, he did consider Neville his friend if not as much as Ron and Hermione, but his curiosity won over and he asked “What’s the difference between this and using animals in Transfiguration?”

“Well, first of all, you don’t use your own pets in classes,” James pointed out “though I wouldn’t be too surprised that he does keep Trevor on him, I remember that little thing always trying to get away.”

“But” Remus cut back in before James could get to off topic “the main difference is that in other classes, there shouldn’t be any permanent harm. If you get the spell wrong, then your teacher should just be able to reverse the effects. Correct me if I’m wrong Lily, but you can’t always correct potions.”

Lily shook herself in surprise, she was still introverting on herself in shock that she actually didn’t feel any lingering need to defend Snape to these boys anymore. That effect had worn off the moment she’d heard that he was actually willing to hurt this child, in one of the cruellest ways she could deem possible, by purposefully hurting his pet. For what? He had no reason, Neville had never done anything to anyone, and yet here he was singling him out almost as much as Harry and being downright hateful to everyone else. Even after he had called her that awful word back in fifth year, she’d still had hope. No, she’d never forgiven him, nor had she gone out of her way to defend him in school any longer, except to this lot. There had always been something about the Marauders that had gotten under her skin, and even after her and Severus had parted ways she’d never been able to stomach the still rather public fights. So when she’d heard that Dumbledore had hired him, she’d harboured hope, that somehow he had changed after her death, become that same friend she’d once known, why else would Dumbledore hire a known Death Eater? Now, every last bit of that was dashed, and the contempt mounting in her was as fierce as the night that mess between them had started. Then Remus had called her name, and she gave herself a firm little shake and came back to the actual conversation, asking him to repeat the question.

He did, albeit a little hesitantly as she still looked a swirl of emotions, but she answered crisply “you’re right, some potions just can’t be corrected. From what it sounds like, yes Neville’s should be salvageable, he seems to have only doubled some ingredients, so if he does the same to his other ingredients that are in, it should balance out and be fine. Still doesn’t excuse that teacher from acting like that though” she finished, fire blistering from her at the end, making Harry want to edge away even when it wasn’t directed at him.

James and Sirius exchanged wide-eyed looks, they hadn’t ever seen Lily this mad at him before, and it both amused them in the worst kind of way that she finally wasn’t defending him, and scared them slightly.

Remus caught Harry’s eye, who nodded indicating he was done with his question, so Remus was quick to move on for now.

hoping that would get through to him. He stalked away, and Neville begged Hermione for her help. Then Seamus leaned back to talk to Harry, telling him that he’d found this morning in the newspaper that someone had seen Black.

“Oh bloody hell” Sirius groaned, letting his head fall forward so that it was pressed forehead to forehead with the infant. James and Remus both gave him pitying looks, but no one could think of anything to say to him. If Sirius was going to react like this every time he was mentioned, then they were going to run out of comfort for him real quick. Then the baby hooked his chubby little fists into the length of his godfather’s available hair, causing a bit of a distraction as he tried disentangling himself.

Remus still looked like he wanted to say something, but James was now quickly waving him on, trying to press past this as fast as possible while Sirius was distracted.

Harry asked where that was, ignoring Malfoy clearly listening in, and Seamus said it had been a Muggle who’d called the hotline, and by the time the Ministry had arrived there wasn’t a trace of him, but it had only been a few towns away. Ron gave an uneasy look at his best friend for that kind of description.

James scoffed and rolled his eyes. He, like Remus, was all for Sirius making his way to Hogwarts and coming into contact with Harry, those dementors be damned. If Sirius had figured out how to get past them once, surely he could do it again and have a proper conversation with Harry. Ron’s fears were silly, but since everyone here knew that, he didn’t bother saying any of that.

Harry got sick of Malfoy’s face, and turned to snap if he needed anything else skinned.

“Like yourself” Sirius smirked as he finally got himself loose from the kid’s surprisingly good grip.

“Sirius, that’s gross” Lily told him pleasantly.

He snickered, not looking very remorseful as he began bouncing the baby around again so that he would be a bit more amused, and not take it out on him again.

Malfoy looked pleased about something new though, as he asked Harry if he was planning on going after Black himself? Harry absentmindedly replied he just might, and Malfoy agreed he sure would have, in fact he would have already done something.

Remus raised a brow in surprise, finding that a rather odd thing to say. Looking around, he saw the others seemed just as perplexed.

“Suppose Malfoy knows I’m ‘after him’,” Sirius offered in forced light tones, “guess he just means Harry’s being a coward for sitting around and not taking the fight to me I guess.”

“Yeah, guess so” James agreed. “But why would Malfoy know that? It doesn’t exactly seem like public knowledge if Fudge is trying to keep it quiet and away from Harry.”

“Guess Malfoy really does still have connections in the Ministry to know” Lily said with disdain.

He wouldn’t be sitting around in school like he was told. Ron turned on him, demanding to know what he was on about, but Malfoy just laughed then when he realized Harry didn’t know.

“Half wish he didn’t” Sirius muttered in disgust. Despite Harry’s adamant mood that he wasn’t afraid of him now, it still bothered him that his little pup would think that at any time in his life.

Harry demanded to know what, but Malfoy just laughed harder, saying that he wasn’t surprised Harry couldn’t do it, but Malfoy would want his revenge.

“Revenge for what?” James demanded of nothing, starting to clench up his hands in disgust. He hated to hear this continuously talked about, and he already had a dozen reasons to punch this brat in the face, so this continued conversation was getting under his skin.

“Lucius would know you and Sirius are friends” Remus pointed out. “Perhaps Draco thinks Harry knew about that, and that Sirius ‘doing this’ would be offensive to you.”

“That’s a little loose if you ask me” Lily shrugged.

“Got any better ideas” Sirius shot right back.

There was silence, which meant that none of them really did.

Snape cut the conversation off by telling them class was done, but to wait around so they could see what happend to Neville’s potion. Hermione was still muttering to him under her breath as Neville stirred with purpose.

They all breathed a silent sigh of relief, knowing full well if Hermione hadn’t stepped in something really awful could have happened. It still didn’t excuse the act itself that Snape had done of course, but at least this way there wouldn’t be any lasting damage.

Harry went over to the wash to clean out his stuff, asking Ron what Malfoy could have meant about Black? He hadn’t done anything to him personally, yet.

“Thanks for the vote of confidence” Sirius meant to smirk lightly, though it looked a little more forced then he’d planned.

Ron said he had just been bluffing, trying to get under Harry’s skin. Snape cut in and told them all to come closer,

All who weren’t reading muttered some crude thing or another under their breath, finding it loathsome that he was clearly wanting an audience for this.

to Neville’s cauldron so they could see this. He began explaining that if Neville had made the proper potion, the Shrinking Solution, it would turn Trevor back into a tadpole. Since he highly disagreed it had been done right, the most likely end result was the toad being poisoned.

“Blackhearted little monster ain’t he” Sirius muttered for his friends ears alone. The three of them were still rather weary that Lily hadn’t said anything yet, so they were trying their hardest to keep the comments down…for now.

The Gryffindors were watching with fear, while the Slytherin’s looked ready for a show.

“All of them,” Lily asked wearily “really?”

“The ones I was looking at” Harry shrugged “which was mostly Malfoy’s, and Pansy’s friends.” He did note lightly that he hadn’t exactly sat there and pointed out every single student’s expression, so maybe he had generalized that.

Snape scooped up the warty amphibian and scooped the potion into his mouth, which was now as green as his skin.

There was a much more profound breath of relief this time, each of them very happy Hermione had clearly done a good enough job the potion was the correct color.

All held their breath as the toad swallowed, then with a poof, he became a tadpole in Snape’s hand. The Gryffindors cheered, while Snape looked disappointed,

“Can’t believe they let this turd be around kids” James muttered furiously.

but he fixed Trevor back to his proper size and shoved him back towards Neville, telling him he’d lost five points from his house,

“Say what?” Lily snapped in outrage.

“That’s what finally got to you?” Remus demanded right back, looking over at her in surprise.

Lily wasn’t listening, it seemed to be taking every ounce within her not to start screaming at all of the problems with this. His abuse of power, his clear displeasure that he hadn’t managed to kill the pet in front of its owner, now he was punishing him for doing it right! What in the bloody hell had happened to him to turn him into this?

When the silence continued to drag on, Remus decided to read on, noting he hadn’t exactly gotten his answer, but the deadly expression on the red hair’s face was plenty answer enough.

because he’d told Hermione not to help him. They went out of class in a temper, Ron loudest of all as he began verbally calling out Snape’s actions.

“I’m with Ron on this one” James hissed.

Growling that Gryffindor had been punished because Trevor hadn’t died! Hermione should have lied and said she hadn’t helped!

“First of all, because that git wouldn’t have believed either of them anyways” Sirius pointed out.

“Also, because what would be the point? He’d still take the points away, if not more because he’d then accuse her of lying” Remus agreed.

Hermione didn’t respond, and Ron looked around in surprise for her, realizing she wasn’t anywhere around them. They both turned and looked around, Ron saying she’d been just behind them,

“Think she forgot something in class?” Lily noted absently, still more red in the face then anything and clearly only half paying attention.

Harry puzzled, somehow knowing that wasn’t actually the correct answer, but the others were appeased enough by this, and he had no real idea why he would correct her as there really wasn’t any other answer, so he said nothing.

but then they saw her running up the stairs, trying to shove something down the front of her shirt.

“There you go then, Lily was right,” James shrugged, “maybe she has a necklace that fell off.”

Harry very quickly opened, then closed his mouth. That his dad was closer to the mark he was sure, but somehow this still didn’t feel like the full answer. Again he chose to say nothing, for the same reasons as before.

Ron asked how she’d pulled that off, she’d been right behind them a second ago, then she was back at the bottom end of the stairs.

“She’s really fast” Sirius rolled his eyes, noting he might not have noticed someone turning around behind him either if he’d been raging like Ron had.

Hermione just looked confused, but she didn’t get a chance to reply before her bag split open, and a dozen thick books toppled onto the ground. Ron asked why she had all of those on her,

“Did he really just ask Hermione why she was carrying books around?” James laughed in disbelief.

“But a dozen?” Remus demanded. “Exactly how many classes is she taking?”

“All of them” Harry reminded.

They all sat around, newly puzzled but still blank on how Hermione could be pulling that off. Could it be possible she was simply getting one of the students in that class to copy notes and give them to her? At least that would make sense how she was keeping up with more than one class at a time, but not how or why they were still marked on her schedule that she needed to go.

when she didn’t have any of these classes. All they had left was DADA in the afternoon.

“Yes” James and Sirius cheered, instantly distracted from Harry’s friend. Yes they had all noted Remus’ absence this week, and were beyond confused and slightly hurt he still didn’t seem to be going out of his way to try and talk to Harry like they would have thought, but getting to sit in one of his classes first hand felt like a real treat to them.

Hermione agreed, but still put all of her books back into her ripped back.

“What did you think she was going to do with them?” Lily chuckled, finally coming off of her bad mood at least a bit. “Run all the way back to the dormitory? She’s got them with her now, so she’s obviously going to keep them the rest of the day.”

Then she walked off for lunch, and Ron asked Harry if he got the feeling Hermione was hiding something.

“Very much so, yes” Harry agreed.

Lupin wasn’t in class when they arrived.

“For shame Moony,” James snickered “being late. Can’t hardly tell off your students for that now, can you?”

Remus rolled his eyes indulgently, half wondering if he wasn’t still stalling a bit on being around Harry, and half wondering if he actually did have a good reason. He probably wasn’t going to get a real answer to that though.

They took their seats and glanced around with nerves, and had settled in when Lupin made his appearance, giving them all a kind welcoming smile. Harry noticed that some decent meals had given him some new color, though his robes were still more tattered then was normal.

“This is depressing me again” Sirius rolled his eyes.

“So sorry Harry describing me, very accurately I might add, is so awful to you” Remus smirked.

He greeted them, then asked for them all to put their books away and keep out their wands, they’d be having a hands on class today.

“So this is going to be fun” James brightened all the more, knowing any practical lesson from a teacher were always better then book ones.

The class did as told, with some weariness, since they’d never had one of these before,

“Which is awful really” Lily noted. “DADA is one of those classes where you really should have just as many practicals as lectures.”

unless you were counting the time pixies had been let loose.

“I’d be very insulted and confused by that if I didn’t know what you meant” Remus laughed.

Lupin then got them all to their feet, and told to follow him.

“Ooh, is he going to take you outside?” Sirius asked, looking likely to start bouncing in place here in a moment.

“You two are way too excited about this” Remus told them pleasantly.

“No such thing,” James scoffed “we know you’ll do brilliantly, we just want to see what you actually do.”

Remus didn’t actually seem to have a response to that so, blushing slightly now, he was quick to move on past.

They followed with high interest out of the room, but didn’t make it far when they ran into Peeves, shoving gum into a keyhole.

“Why?” Harry asked.

“Did you really just ask why that Poltergeist did anything,” Lily laughed “he does it because he thinks it will cause problems.”

“I just meant why this in particular?” Harry corrected himself. “It wouldn’t really stop anybody in the castle would it?”

“Filch,” James pointed out “he couldn’t magic it out, or otherwise open the door without the key.”

“Oh, right” Harry nodded, then he eyed Remus curiously, wondering what he was going to do about the matter. Ignore it, or stop him?

Then the poltergeist caught sight of Lupin, and at once broke into evil laughter before singing a tune about Loony, loopy, Lupin.

“Glad to see he still remembers me” Remus laughed.

The rest of the class was fairly shocked, since despite Peeves was known for his horrid ways, he tended to show a modicum of discipline around the staff.

“Guess it doesn’t count after Remus locked him in a closet one time” Sirius snickered.

“Only worked for about a second, but it made me feel better,” Remus shrugged “he’s hated me specifically ever since.”

The students looked to their new teacher to see what he would do, and found him smiling. He kindly asked Peeves to take that gum back out, or Filch would have a problem of it later.

“And Merlin knows how awful that would be” Lily giggled.

Peeves’ response was to blow a raspberry.

“Not going to take that now are you” James smirked, even more bright-eyed now as he recognized all too well the expression on his friend’s face. No way was he going to let Peeves do that without some small payback, especially in front of students.

Lupin didn’t lose his pleasant demeanor even as he sighed and pulled out his wand.

“Sure this is just heart wrenching for you” Sirius snickered.

He told them to watch this spell, it could be used for a number of things, then he cried Waddiwasi.

“Cool” the other three said with interest, James and Sirius only half manageable since they were still snickering away at this lovely visual mental image. Harry watched them all curiously, but didn’t interrupt to ask what that spell did, since the book was obviously fixing to say.

The pink ball of chewed gum shot out of its spot, and went up the poltergeist nose. Peeves tried to pull it back out, and when he failed, flew away while throwing all sorts of vulgar language around.

Now Harry was laughing right along with them, mentally storing that spell away for future use, and hoping he’d asked for specifics of that spell. Was it a spell that merely shoots gum up a person’s nose, or was it more generalized that it would shoot anything up a nose, or perhaps it simply shot a small object in a preferred direction? He decided to ask for the details later.

Dean was the first to congratulate Lupin, and the teacher thanked him back by name.

“How do you know his name?” Sirius stuttered, still half out of breath from his laughing fit.

“How should I know?” Remus reminded, thinking most likely he’d just come across him in a hallway or something as unmentionable.

Then he continued leading them on his path, the class now following with much more respect.

“Kind of makes you wonder if that was just a little setup?” James muttered to his friend, who nodded with enthusiasm. The pair wouldn’t put it past him to perhaps go that particular direction that Peeves was in, since despite his words, Remus most likely would want his class to respect him, especially this class.

They reached their destination, the staffroom.

“Now Remus” Lily began, unable to keep a teasing tone out of her voice “what exactly are you getting these students into?”

“Nothing that you’re thinking” he responded back kindly, causing Sirius to release a bark of laughter.

James was looking lovingly over at his wife, never not finding it amusing when she beat him to a comment.

He opened the door, and they began to file in, but froze up when they saw Snape

“Oh not him again,” Sirius groaned “as if I didn’t want him dead once today already.”

To be perfectly honest, he actually said that while eyeing Lily, hoping to finally get some sort of response out of her. Still no one answered him, and while Remus agreed, it didn’t stop him from reading what was about to happen.

already inside. He had been sitting around reading and Lupin made to simply shut the door with him inside, but Snape told him not to bother, telling Lupin he didn’t want to see this.

James frowned and cocked his head to the side, silently noting that Snape wasn’t exactly being professional right then, he really should have addressed him as a Professor in front of the students. Then again, this was Snape he was thinking about.

Before he could leave though, he turned and informed Lupin that Neville was in here, and he shouldn’t be doing anything to hard unless Hermione was at his ear.

That finally seemed to have done it, Lily got to her feet anyways, but instead of the screaming fit they were all expecting, she walked calmly over to Sirius and took her son away, then went up the stairs muttering that he needed his diaper checked.

Harry watched after her, a little fearful at how she seemed to be handling this. The other boys were more than weary at this point. “Can’t believe Lily’s still sticking up for him” Sirius said in disgust, craning his neck around to keep an eye on the stairs to make sure she hadn’t heard that.

Remus shrugged and leaned back casually as he said “personally, if she is still defending him, someone really needs to get it through her thick head enough is enough. How on earth can she excuse him after this?”

“I don’t think so” James shook his head, looking more puzzled than anything now. “D’you see the way she looked right before she did that? Honestly I think the only thing stopping her from screaming her head off about him was the baby in the room.”

Harry was personally on his Dad’s side, he’d recognized that look of loathing on her face before as well, but before any more could be said Lily came back in, and offered the baby back to the boys. Sirius took him happily, and no more was said after Lily simply waved Remus on.

Neville went red in the face, and Harry glared hatefully at the potions teacher, thinking it was horrid enough for him to be saying things like that in his own class, but now he was doing it around other teachers.

“Agreed” Sirius nodded with conviction, still keeping a wary eye on Lily like he was still expecting her to snap at him. She did no such thing, and her expression remained almost neutral.

Lupin though seemed surprised at the suggestion, informing Snape that he’d been planning on using Neville to get the ball rolling, and he had no doubts the boy would do perfectly.

“Thank you Remus” James said sincerely “that poor kid needs someone to stand up to Snape for him.”

Remus was beaming, knowing full well he’d do this again in a heartbeat.

Neville actually lost color then, while Snape just scowled and left.

“Good riddance ya foul little beetle” Sirius said in a goofy, baby tone of voice, getting a reaction from the baby, but clearly still not pushing Lily’s buttons enough. James gave him a hard nudge in the side, clearly saying he needed to knock it off now, but Sirius was enjoying this too much. He’d held back a lot of comments on account of getting told off by Lily for it, now it seemed that wasn’t going to be the case anymore, he was going to have a field day with this.

Lupin began addressing the class again, who were looking around in confusion before they noticed that the wardrobe which normally just housed coats, was smacking against the wall.

“Oh” Remus said brightly.

“Know what it is?” Lily asked with interest.

“A couple things came to mind,” he nodded “and it makes plenty of sense now why I would have brought them there.”

When most of the class hopped back in shock, Lupin waved them down and told them to calm down,

“Can’t hardly blame them,” James agreed “they haven’t exactly had a lot of good practice dealing with anything in this class.”

it was only a boggart.

“Ooh, this is going to be fun” Sirius nodded happily.

“Glad you lot approve” Remus chuckled lightly when the others agreed.

The class looked far from reassured. Several students like Neville and Seamus now seemed to find even more reason to be afraid.

“Impressed those two know what that is, considering the little education that’s been going on in this class” Lily rolled her eyes.

Lupin began to explain that a boggart preferred dark and enclosed spaces, like the wardrobe for example. He’d met one that once stuck itself in a grandfather clock.

“Don’t think it’s fair for you to have said that, when I’m the one who told you that happened in my house” Sirius pointed out.

“Still a relevant point” Remus shot back.

Then he asked, what is a boggart? Hermione was the first to raise her hand,

“No surprise there” Harry nodded.

informing everyone it was a shapeshifter, turning into something it thought would scare you. Lupin gave her full credit for the answer, explaining that’s why the creature loved the dark so much, it could stay hidden until it chose what to scare you with.

“Then what does it look like?” Harry asked inquisitively.

Remus cocked his head to the side in curiosity, thinking on that for a moment before answering “no one knows. I’d assume it would likely be in a form it thinks would scare anyone who snuck up on it, yet until it grasps hold of one mind, there’s no real way to tell.”

“One mind?” Harry repeated, just a bit of anxiety creeping in now.

“It can read your mind,” Remus nodded “that’s how it knows what will fear you most.”

“Now that we’ve got that covered, though you’re likely to just go over it again” Sirius pointed out in a long-suffering voice. Remus gave him the stank eye for a moment, but didn’t deny that.

Then Lupin explained that because of this gift, no one knew what a boggarts original form looked like. Which meant when he let him out, and Neville made a small noise of fear at the reminder,

“Poor kid” James couldn’t help but grin.

“Like Remus is going to let anything too bad happen” Sirius rolled his eyes at the ludicrous thought.

that they would have an advantage, then he asked Harry to point out what it was.

“That was almost rude” Lily said a little cheekily, not really meaning it as Harry hardly looked upset. “He didn’t exactly have his hand raised.”

Remus shrugged, not looking very abashed, he was sure he wanted to know especially what his little cub might know about magical creatures, no he wasn’t taking a special interest that would be ridiculous…

and Harry floundered for a moment before guessing that their numbers would make it hesitant what form to take. Lupin gave him perfect marks for that answer, while Hermione looked upset she hadn’t got to say this.

“Does she really answer every question from a teacher?” James now asked. “That hardly seems fair to any other student.”

“I’m sure if anyone else ever volunteered, the teacher would pick someone else” Sirius shrugged.

Lupin went on to explain that you should always have a buddy around when dealing with boggarts, as he’d once seen one try to turn into two different creatures, half a dead body and half a slug, which was more funny then anything.

“Now when did this happen?” James asked in surprise.

Remus then had a surreal moment as he realized he was very soon going to be experiencing and doing things, without any of his friends around. What exactly had he been doing these past twelve years? He couldn’t help but sink down into himself a bit when he realized he had no answer, nor did he particularly want to find out. It was also rather odd to think he had memories then that he had no idea about now… but since it was a rhetorical question anyways no one said anything.

Then he told them the charm, which was supposed to be used to force a boggart into a form that would make them laugh, which was the boggarts weakness. It was called Riddikulus.

“Always loved the name of that spell” Sirius said, maybe a little too loudly that time, as he noticed Remus’ mood seemed to have gone down a pinch. They were still enjoying his first class too much to allow him too much self-depression again, so he was hoping to cheer his friend back up. It didn’t actually seem to work that well.

Then Lupin turned his attention back to Neville, who looked like he’d just been told his death date,

“That poor boy,” Lily fretted “has he no confidence at all?”

“Then this class will help” James said adamantly.

and asked him what he was most afraid of? Neville mouthed something that Lupin happily asked him to repeat.

“You seem to be enjoying this a little too much” Sirius smirked at him, getting a smile in return as Remus answered “I always enjoy watching others interact with Boggarts, never ceases to amuse what interesting things people will come up with to laugh at.”

Neville had to swallow hard for a moment before getting out, Professor Snape.

All four boys released surprised and amused snorts of laughter, while Lily pursed up her lips so tightly the skin went almost white. She didn’t find it the least bit funny that he had clearly scarred this student so badly, this little third year was now terrified of him! Despite the fact that there wasn’t any danger around, Lily reached over and clutched her son’s hand to her for a moment to comfort herself and convince her mind not to start screaming about this as well, she would have to hold it in until she was a little more alone without an audience for when she broke down and really dug into these soon overflowing emotions that she was trying very hard to keep a lid on.

The rest of the students laughed, while Lupin gave a little smile and repeated Professor Snape’s name,

“I note Remus actually used his title, not that he deserved it” James pointed out, in a less harsh tone than he would have liked to, still too keyed up and happy to be hearing about this.

before asking who Neville lived with? Neville told it was his grandmother, but he didn’t want the boggart to turn into her either.

Which gained yet another laugh, this time from all present. Even Lily couldn’t deny that, yes, the adults of your life that you lived with would tend to scare you a bit.

Lupin gave a small laugh as he asked what his grandmother usually wore?

Sirius and James lost it. They knew quite well what exactly Remus was planning just by that simple sentence, but they reined themselves in very quickly, refusing to explain to a confused Harry and Lily what they were now very sure what was about to happen. Remus looked pleasantly amused with himself as well, feeling this was more than justified just from the little comment he’d made about Neville at the beginning of class.

Neville described her usual attire, a hat with a vulture, a green dress, and a fox scarf, with a red purse.

“Brilliant, this is beyond perfect” Sirius muttered, pure glee in his expression.

Lupin clarified that Neville could see those clothes perfectly in his mind, and Neville agreed with clear confusion at this line of questioning.

“He has no idea” James guffawed, almost stuffing his fist in his mouth to keep himself contained so he could listen.

Then Lupin explained that when boggart Snape came out of that wardrobe, Neville was to use the Riddikulus curse on him, and those things should all appear on their potions teacher.

Remus couldn’t get through that whole sentence without having to stop and stifle his giggling. James and Sirius didn’t even bother, and by the end where Harry and Lily realized where this was going, they weren’t any better. They didn’t even need to be there to see this, the vivid mental image it painted was one of the best any of them could have come up with.

Sirius tried to speak in between bursts of laughter “this…is…your…best…prank…ever!” There might have been more, but he still wasn’t that intelligible.

“I wouldn’t really consider it a prank even,” James disagreed, wiping at his eyes to clear his happy tears away “’cause he’s not really doing it to Snape. He’s just creating a little revenge for the poor kid, and no one can even do anything to say it’s wrong.”

The class burst out joyfully with giggles, and the wardrobe gave a disturbed jerk.

“Wouldn’t have been too surprised if it had simply disappeared then” Lily chuckled.

“No, it has to be more direct” Remus coached.

Lupin quickly pulled their control back and instructed each of them to figure out what they feared most, and put a funny spin on it.

That finally dried up a bit of laughter in the room as one person in particular from that class came to mind. All eyes flicked to Harry and away quickly, not really wanting to think on what could scare him the most. A Basilisk came to mind, or giant spiders, even that demented spirit of a creature Voldemort had become, sticking out of the back of Quirrell’s head. Any of those were likely to come up when the boggart turned on him, and none would be very pleasant reminders.

Harry’s own mind began to flit around, easily landing on Voldemort,

They all made a face and shifted around uneasily, not exactly happy they had been right in one of their guesses, and also wondering how you even could make that funny. Dressing him up in a dress and handbag just might not work as well.

powerful once again.

“Should probably be everybody’s greatest fear” James nodded in agreement.

He hadn’t even got started on how to make that funny though, when something else crept up on him, a towering black robed figure with a skeletal hand rotting away.

Sirius couldn’t help the involuntary shiver that came when he heard about those things all over again, matched by Harry now.

“Now that’s interesting” Remus noted lightly, eyeing both Harry and Sirius curiously.

“What?” Lily asked, a little reproachfully. She didn’t think anything that scared her son should be treated with interest, but Remus didn’t seem to notice the tone as he answered “their greatest fear seems to be fear manifested itself. I’ve never heard of that before, but it makes sense.”

Sirius huffed and grumbled something under his breath, cuddling the baby closer to him and muttering that wasn’t what he was really afraid of, but the others ignored him as James said “agreed, now let’s see how Harry decides to make that funny.”

It was clear he didn’t want to linger on the subject, and no one argued the point.

Harry had to repress a shudder of remembered horror, and glanced around as a distraction to see Ron with his eyes screwed tight shut muttering about taking somethings legs off. Harry didn’t have to go far to guess at this, since he knew Ron was most afraid of spiders.

“Well kudos to Ron, he both admits what he’s afraid of, and knows how to deal with it” Sirius nodded in approval.

At the front of the room, Lupin called out if everyone was ready, and Harry had a small spurt of panic as he realized he wasn’t. How were you supposed to make a dementor funny? He didn’t ask for spare time,

“Can’t even blame you on that one” Lily said with sympathy.

“Though I’m sure Remus would have given it to you anyways” James shot back.

“Still don’t want to ask for it” Harry reminded with a shrug, then Sirius snapped his fingers and said “I know, you could light its cloak on fire, might look funny to watch it flail around the room like a ninny.”

The others managed a small smile for his attempt at humor, but none of them really thought it was that funny, or that Harry would think to do this; though they all hoped.

because everyone else now had set looks of determination on their faces in preparation. Lupin had Neville stand directly in front of the wardrobe now, and the rest of the class backed away from his shaking form, though he covered it by pushing his sleeves up and his wand was plenty steady.

All of them smiled with real pride at this, he wasn’t even really anything to do with them, but they still couldn’t help but feel proud this boy was clearly forcing himself to stand up to this.

Lupin cast his wand and out stepped a perfect replica of Snape.

“Give it to him Neville” James said under his breath, eyeing the book with wide-eyed hope.

For a moment, Neville froze up, as the boggart reached into its manifested robes,

“Could the Boggart actually perform a spell” Harry blurted out, instantly feeling bad as he too wanted to know if Neville had pulled this off, but the question had just sprung to mind.

No one actually looked annoyed at him, indeed they were rather pleased he truly didn’t seem to be bottling up his questions anymore, and Remus was quick to answer “no, it doesn’t carry the magical ability of what it turns in too. In this case it would just brandish a wand, scaring him further, until it could pounce and kill him.”

but Neville reacted faster, getting the proper curse out, and Snape appeared in all of his green dress glory.

Having already pictured this lovely mental image didn’t draw back the laughter one bit. The four boys were very sure indeed they would never not laugh at this mental image, it was far too perfect for anything they’d ever come up with. Lily couldn’t deny she was still amused as well, though now her lips were more twitching than outright laughter.

The class lost it again, laughing outright at this, but then Lupin called Parvati to take Neville’s place.

Sirius randomly noted that Remus had actually known all of these kids’ names, but decided to let it go, who knew why he knew these students names before they introduced themselves. It’s not as if he’d called roll to learn them, but maybe he was just overthinking this one.

She ran forward, and with a crack the boggart turned itself into a mummy.

“Oh yes, those can scare the daylights out of you” Lily nodded in agreement.

Parvati reacted similarly, using her wand to fire the curse, and the mummy’s bandages came apart, its head beginning to roll away.

James and Sirius released snorts of laughter at that, that’s not what they had been thinking to do to it, but that was funny all the same.

Then it was Seamus’ turn, and he came forward to find a banshee.

“Wonder when Seamus would have run into one of those” James asked with interest.

“Wonder where that other girl would have run into a mummy” Lily countered.

“You don’t actually have to run into it for it to scare you,” Remus reasoned out “just the thought of it can be enough for the boggart to latch on to.”

The creature began to making a horrid ear bleeding noise, but Seamus cut if off with his Riddikulus curse, and suddenly no noise could escape its rasping throat.

All of them laughed lightly at this, James actually applauding that logic.

The boggart was losing its grip now, randomly turning into a rat and chasing its tail,

The three Marauders winced at the random reminder that their friend wasn’t here to enjoy this, but Remus didn’t pause to let it last.

and Lupin seemed pleased as he instructed the class they were getting to it, sending Dean forward next. His turned into a single hand, which began approaching on the fingers.

“Bloody hell,” Sirius spluttered, looking genuinely disturbed at that “who thinks up that?”

“Now that might actually have a story to it” Remus nodded with just a hint of disgust, but he still read curiously to see what Dean might do with it.

Dean was well prepared, snatching it up in a mousetrap.

Which garnered a new round of laughter from all of them, definite points for originality for that one.

Then it was Ron’s turn, and most of the class screamed when a huge spider,

“I’d like to remind someone of this the next time they pick on Ron for being afraid of spiders” James said, giving a lofty look at Lily, who pointedly ignored him. She’d already taken back and felt bad for giggling at him before, no need for him to remind her of that.

which was bigger than most of the students, with menacing pincers already clicking away. Ron didn’t react at first,

“Poor Ron” James said in sympathy.

“Give him a chance” Harry disagreed, though he personally couldn’t blame his friend one bit if he had frozen, he was probably reliving that awful scene from last year in the Forbidden Forest.

but like everyone else, he came to his senses and called out Riddikulus, causing the spider’s legs to disappear from beneath it,

James instantly looked abashed for not having enough faith in Ron, and he laughed right along with the others and applauded him for pulling that off.

where it rolled over itself, and landed in front of Harry. Lupin jumped forward then,

“Hey” Harry said indignantly.

Remus pursed his lips as the others gave him confused looks as well for stepping in like that, but then he shrugged and offered “Guess I really didn’t want a Voldemort, or a dementor, appearing in the room right then and scaring the other students.” Even to him it felt like a lame excuse, why wouldn’t he have given Harry the chance to fight off the boggart like everyone else? Harry was still frowning, not looking very happy with that answer, but Remus really couldn’t think of anything else to say. He felt like he should apologize, but would Harry really take it now when he hadn’t technically done it yet…or perhaps he might even still be resenting him for still not having come to talk to him this week. Either way, he turned back to the book rather shamefaced at his actions.

and the boggart instead turned into a silver ball hovering in front of him, but Lupin seemed unconcerned as he said the spell,

None of them really needed to ask, it made perfect sense this would be his greatest fear.

and then told Neville to finish it while the boggart scuttled around as a cockroach.

“A cockroach, that’s the funniest thing you could come up with?” Sirius muttered, and Remus ignored him.

Neville took the opportunity by coming back up, and they got one more memorable look of Snape in his fancy dress,

James and Sirius gave another laugh, but this time they were the only ones who did. Then they frowned at each other, rather annoyed the mood got popped so easily, and really hoping the Remus in the book would get a move on already with what was weighing them all down.

before Neville gave one last and loud ‘Ha’ of amusement, then the boggart vanished with a trail of smoke.

“Can boggarts die?” Lily asked randomly, never having thought of that.

Remus was fidgeting with the pages, not really looking like he wanted to answer. Sirius considered smacking him to try and get him to stop acting like this when he really hadn’t done anything wrong, yet. Before he could though James already answered “nah, they’re amortal.”

At Harry’s continued blank look, Sirius said “that means that they never truly existed, so they can’t ever truly die. It’s not really like immortal, dementors are actually the same. They were never born, nor can they ever die, they just exist.”

Harry nodded in understanding, and the second the silence lingered Remus was quick to read.

Lupin congratulated the lot of them on a job well done, awarding every person who had a go at the boggart five points, plus five to Hermione and Harry each.

James let out a low, throaty whistle saying “wow, spoil them much?”

“Oh I’m sure Remus is above favoring” Lily smirked lightly, and then they both frowned when he still refused to react.

Harry protested he hadn’t earned that, but Lupin reminded Harry had answered his question at the beginning of class. Then he assigned them homework to summarize the chapter in the book on boggarts, due the next class.

“Ugh, I wish Moony was above giving homework” Sirius said in disgust.

Remus did react then, giving his friend an annoyed look, he seemed very close on the verge of pointing out the importance of homework, but let it go at the last second.

The class left in high spirits, everyone talking about what they’d just done, but Harry was left feeling discouraged. Why had Lupin reacted like that, stopping him? Had he thought seeing Harry go down on the train would mean he couldn’t handle it ever?

“That’s not it at all!” Remus flipped, and Harry couldn’t help but smile along with everyone to see him talking again, animatedly as he was quick to explain “Harry, I know you’re not weak. Then and now,” he stopped for a moment and went a little cross-eyed, but ignored the odd time loop “I’m sure I simply just didn’t want you to do it, ah for the same reason I said.” It still sounded false to his own ears, but Harry was now eying him hopefully, so Remus at least hoped he’d made him feel better. Harry didn’t say anything aloud though, so he didn’t really think so.

The students were comparing how they’d scared away their own fears, though Lavender asked why their teacher would be afraid of a crystal ball.

“Oh please let them continue believing that” Remus muttered to himself.

“Now that was funny,” Sirius snickered “you being afraid of a glass ball.”

“I’ll take that over what it really was” Remus shot back, and Sirius frowned at him, feeling Remus was being a little snappier than was called for. Then again, he was used to Remus getting snippy with him this time of the month, so he didn’t push it.

Ron was bubbling along with the rest of them, exclaiming that had been the best DADA class they’d ever had.

“Well there is that” James nodded eagerly, and Remus really did offer a small smile then for the compliment.

Hermione agreed, though wished she’d gotten some hands on work with the boggart as well. Ron laughed, asking what it would have turned into, an imperfect homework assignment?

All of them released surprised snorts of laughter then, Harry loudest of all as he had a funny feeling Ron wasn’t too far off, but having no idea why that could be.

“Chapter’s over by the way” Remus said, giving the book a gentle toss over to Lily, who caught it lightly.


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