June 16th, 2008
|09:06 pm - Fic: "Boggart", Draco Malfoy/Remus Lupin, Part 1/2|
Pairing: Draco Malfoy/Remus Lupin
Rating: R for language and imagery.
Summary: Professor Lupin thinks he knows why Draco refuses to face a Boggart in front of his peers. When he finds out the truth, he realizes that there is more to the spoiled boy than he had originally thought. Draco, in turn, discovers something in Remus that he had been searching for, but he knows that it cannot be reciprocated.
Warnings: Draco is thirteen years old in this story, but it’s mostly unreciprocated pre-slash, so nothing much to worry about. (There may be a smutty sequel brewing in my brain though =))
Word Count: ~13000
Disclaimer: I hope no one is actually “labouring under the delusion” that I am in any way affiliated with J.K. Rowling. I just like to play with her naked characters *grin*.
Standing in the Hogwarts staff room, staring at an old wardrobe which was shaking so violently it seemed to be in danger of knocking itself over, Draco Malfoy was fairly certain that this was going to be the worst day of his life. After word had spread that the shoddily dressed, new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher had actually set the third year Gryffindors on a Boggart, he had spent his first few classes with undignified sweaty palms, but had eventually decided that the moment must have passed. Lupin was lucky to have found one Boggart hiding in the school for his little demonstration, surely he wasn’t going to come across another one. No such luck clearly. He had only had one period’s warning, as he happened to overhear an annoying Hufflepuff girl giggling about the class she had just had. Her self esteem had apparently shot up several notches after she had turned a looming image of her face covered in great gushing boils into a big, ripe strawberry. Draco felt a rush of irritation that less than a year after Lord Voldemort had very nearly succeeded in opening the Chamber of Secrets, this homely Mudblood was more afraid of something happening to her bloody face than pain, dismemberment or death.
“Really? You think that’s something to brag about?” Draco asked over his shoulder. The annoying Hufflepuff started, unaware that anyone had been paying attention to her. “I rather think a bunch of lovely red boils would be an improvement to your appearance. It would at least give people something interesting to look at.”
The girl managed to look offended, terrified and as if she were about to burst into tears all at the same time. Satisfied that he had managed to at least ruin someone’s day before second period, Draco continued on toward the DADA room, a knot forming in his stomach. Surely this couldn’t mean what he feared it must mean. Even with his regrettable sense of fair play, Lupin couldn’t have possibly tracked down three more Boggarts in such a short space of time, so as to educate the remaining houses on defense against them.
Draco had sat at his desk, hands clasped tightly together, uncharacteristically ignoring Crabbe and Goyle’s inane blithering, when he normally would have threatened them into silence. His fears were confirmed when Lupin didn’t even ask them to take out their books, and instead lead them through the castle to the teachers’ lounge.
Under normal circumstances, Draco would have been busy scrutinizing the area where the Hogwarts staff was expected to socialize. He would have snorted at the garish furniture, mismatched in all four house colours. He would have smirked when he noted that the one ornate piece of furniture in the room, a rich, emerald green armchair, clearly meant for the Slytherin head of house, looked about a century newer than the rest, likely because no self-respecting Slytherin could have tolerated being in this room for long enough to dent a cushion. Not this day however. Draco’s full attention was fixed on the shuddering wardrobe. He felt paralyzed and knew that all colour must have vanished from his face. Fortunately the rest of the class was too excited to pay any attention to him. Truthfully, although his house feigned distaste for anything relating to Gryffindors, he knew that interest in this class had heightened immensely since the much talked-about Boggart incident, and everyone seemed eager to try their hand.
‘Bloody fools!’ Draco thought to himself. ‘Behaving like idiot Gryffindors. Eager to have their greatest fear in the world on display in front of a class of scrutinizing idiots. Knowing full well that the story of what happens in this room will spread through the whole school before the end of the day!’
Draco felt the prickle of sweat starting to drip down the back of his neck.
“I’m sure that by now you all know what’s in this wardrobe,” Lupin was saying with a kind smile on his face, “but just for formality’s sake, can anyone tell me?”
Draco tried his best to burn a hole through the professor with his glare as Pansy Parkinson’s hand shot in the air with all the enthusiasm of a certain Mudblood he didn’t care to think of.
‘Idiot is probably wetting himself that he actually has the full attention of Slytherin house for the first, and likely last time this year! Let’s all share our greatest fears! Won’t it be a fun bonding experience? Afterwards we’ll drink cocoa and cuddle and talk about our hopes and dreams! Bloody fucking Gryffindor!’
This whole exercise was reminding him painfully of some of his first year classes where overly cheerful professors had had them stand and share something about themselves so as to “break the ice”. Except of course then he could save himself with scathing comments, biting wit and general evasiveness.
‘Let’s all get to know each other! Stand up everyone and tell us all about your greatest fear!’ Draco could envision Lupin saying this with the bloody stupid grin he seemed to wear day in and day out. ‘Ever stop to think that one’s greatest bloody fear might be personal, you skint idiot??’
Unfortunately, raging to himself wasn’t getting Draco anywhere in terms of avoiding the inevitable. He had missed Lupin’s entire introduction, and now the Professor was having them practice the incantation without wands. Clearly he couldn’t let this go by without at least saying something. Wouldn’t it be out of character?
“Professor,” he interrupted shamelessly, “I can understand full well why you wouldn’t have a problem putting the collection of Gryffindors who are currently disgracing the third year in danger, but don’t you think that forcing the rest of the houses into a foolish display of bravery is a bad idea?”
The whole class turned to stare at Draco. Crabbe and Goyle started to laugh nervously and some others joined them. Everyone was used to automatically agreeing with every rude thing to come out of Draco’s mouth, so they were unsure as to how to react when he was suggesting ending a lesson they had been anticipating even before they realized they were going to get it.
To his surprise, Lupin did not even attempt to disguise how patronizing his smile was (or at least it certainly seemed that way to Draco). “Mr. Malfoy, while it is very nice to see your concern for you classmates, I assure you this lesson is very well controlled. I have discussed it at length with the Headmaster and we both feel that a practical education in defense will be most effective, especially with times as they are.”
“You mean with Sirius Black being on the loose?” Draco asked, unfazed. “You think he’s going to attack us with Boggarts?”
“Hardly, Mr. Malfoy,” Lupin still hadn’t dropped that infuriating smile. “Boggarts are a sensible starting point however, as they have a nasty tendency to turn up in cupboards, drawers and pantries at the most inconvenient times. I do believe you will feel rather foolish if you end up unexpectedly quivering in front of your closet because you didn’t take the time to learn this lesson.”
Draco let out what he hoped was a dignified snort at that suggestion.
“Besides,” Lupin narrowed his eyes, “I know you’ve all heard the stories about the Gryffindor third years handily dealing with their Boggart. I do hope you don’t feel your house isn’t up to the task?”
And thus the killing blow was dealt.
“Well when you put it that way!” Draco exclaimed, rolling his eyes, immediately quelling the enraged snarls starting up around him.
‘Lupin should have been bloody sorted into Slytherin!’ Draco wasn’t sure if he was impressed, or just horrified.
Draco’s protests suitably dealt with, the class now turned their full attention back to the issue at hand.
“Miss Parkinson, would you like to start us off?” Lupin suggested, with a dramatic sweep of his arm. He stepped away from the wardrobe and let Pansy approach it. She looked nervous, but confident enough that she could handle what was about to emerge.
‘Probably another case of scary boils,’ Draco thought to himself, trying desperately to think of something that could possibly make his worst fear amusing. The fear in question seemed to have been momentarily replaced by fear of that moment itself, and for a minute Draco wondered insanely if when the wardrobe opened for him, a doppelganger of Lupin himself would step out and begin the lesson he had started five minutes earlier. He had a feeling his luck wasn’t going to be so merciful.
The wardrobe swung open at a tap from Lupin’s wand and out stepped a dark-haired man that Draco recognized as Pansy’s father. He held a wand in his hand, directing it at her with a leer on his face.
“You’ve been a bad little girl, haven’t you?” the phantom Mr. Parkinson said in a low voice, “I know just what to do with you. Cruc-”
“Riddikulus!” Pansy cried and immediately Mr. Parkinson’s wand turned on him and he was writhing on the floor in pain, his screams of agony echoing around the staff room. Suddenly, his wand hand popped off its arm and blood started to pour over him. Pansy laughed loudly and enthusiastically.
Draco spared a glance at Lupin, who had for once dropped his smile and now looked slightly green.
‘Thought you had the stones to teach Slytherins did you?’ Draco smiled.
“Ummm Mr. Goyle, step up please!” Lupin commanded, trying to regain some composure.
Goyle did as instructed, and Draco only half paid attention as the writhing form of Mr. Parkinson turned into a looming mountain troll. Several Slytherins backed up a few steps, but Goyle dealt with the Boggart with surprising speed, forcing it to beat itself senseless with its own club. Draco would have been thoroughly enjoying Lupin’s reaction to this class if he hadn’t been so busy trying to come up with a way out of the situation. He casually inched his way as close to the back of the class as he could get.
Crabbe was next up. The battered troll shrunk down so far that Draco could hardly see what was causing Vincent to quake so much. A murmur went through the class as a very familiar voice shouted, “You bloody idiot, can’t you do anything right? I don’t know why I let you follow me around all the time, you worthless git. I’m sick of your filth sullying the air around me!”
Draco now craned his neck to see an image of himself (‘I look bloody good in those trousers, thank you Vincent!’) red in the face, pointing his wand menacingly at the quaking boy before him. Crabbe turned around and looked at him hopelessly, as if he would have much much rather been faced with Longbottom’s cross-dressing Snape and the repercussions that followed.
Draco waved his hand casually, as if to say that he was really above whatever ridicule Crabbe wanted to put his gorgeous double through. Considering the situation he was in, it might be better to give the school something else to talk about. Crabbe looked noticeably relieved. He turned and cried, “Riddikulus!” and Draco immediately regretted his charitable decision as his horrified twin endured his beautiful blond locks lengthening and turning an ugly dull brown, while a gory lightning shaped scar marred his perfect forehead. Draco shut his eyes against the rest of the hideous transformation and tried not to hear the roar of laughter around him. When he cracked an eye open a centimeter he was furious to see that even Lupin looked amused.
“Tough luck Malfoy,” said Blaise Zabini, patting his back as he strode past him, “Looks like Crabbe brought your greatest fear out early!”
Malfoy shivered slightly at the unexpected touch and didn’t even notice what the ugly cross between Potter and himself shuddered and turned into. He was far too aware of the fact that only Blaise stood between him and his secret being betrayed to the whole school. He had one crazy thought, maybe just one chance, and it had to work.
As Blaise stepped out of the way, Malfoy caught a glance of a harmless cub gazing up at him from the ground. He barely had an instant to wonder if Zabini’s fear was a lion, and sneer at the horrific symbolism of that, before the form began to shimmer. Quickly, he made a graceful movement, bringing his want to chest-level and muttering “Protego” as quietly as he dared, hoping to pass the movement off as his usual showiness. The Boggart paused briefly, confused by the magic blocking it from its prey. Draco took advantage of that moment to strike, casting a stunner at the Boggart under his breath and knocking it backwards as he said “Riddikulus!” loudly and uselessly, hoping that no one had noticed that the timing of the spell would have been horribly off. With a superior toss of his head, he returned to the back of the line, acting as if he had performed his task at a far higher level, leaving his classmates glancing around disappointedly, trying to figure out if anyone had noticed what their polished leader feared the most. He didn’t dare look at Lupin.
The confused Boggart spun around and ended up in front of Pansy again, quickly turning back into the form of her father. She dealt with it speedily, and Lupin jumped in front of it, clearly unenthusiastic about seeing the pitiful, tortured form of Mr. Parkinson again. For a split second the Boggart shimmered into a glowing orb and then Lupin said, “Riddikulus” firmly and sent it spinning back into the wardrobe.
He turned around quickly. “Well done, everyone!” his stupid smile was back and he clapped his hands together enthusiastically. “Five points to every Slytherin who correctly disposed of the Boggart, ten to Miss Parkinson who faced it twice! I don’t think it could hurt to let you all out a little early. Enjoy the rest of your free period!”
Even the snarkiest student could not sneer at his behaviour when offered a chance to get out of a lesson early. As one, the class turned and filed toward the door.
“Except you, Mr. Malfoy. I’d like a word.”
Draco froze, his hand on the door knob. He couldn’t possibly pretend he hadn’t heard. He feigned irritation and stormed back into the room. Despite Lupin obviously having seen through his charade, he couldn’t really be concerned. He had dodged what he thought was going to be the worst day of his life, and Lupin hadn’t called him on it in front of the class. Even a week of detention would be well worth it.
Lupin and he stood silently, waiting for the rest of the class to file out.
“That was an impressive stunning spell you performed there, Draco,” Lupin said conversationally when they were alone. “I don’t recall that being the assignment though.”
Draco didn’t bother arguing his innocence.
“Apologies ,” he said with a sneer, “but some of us are more dignified than to allow a classroom full of idiots to gaze at our private thoughts.”
“Ahhh, so you didn’t want your fear on display for everyone to see?”
Draco sighed, Lupin was really rather dim. “Clearly.”
Lupin nodded slowly. “I can understand that Mr. Malfoy, I really can,” he said. “However, I’m afraid I cannot let you get out of this lesson. As I said before, it really is important. Dealing with a Boggart could almost fall into the category of basic household magic, I’m afraid it is necessary for you to learn it.”
“We’ll see what my father has to say about that!” Draco was grateful that he was now able to fall back on his easiest excuse.
“I’m sure your father would not want to find you hiding under your bed, thinking you were being attacked when you could have been dealing with a common household pest.”
“Sounds like work for house-elves to me,” Draco said stubbornly.
“I don’t believe that house-elf magic, while powerful, responds well to this task,” Lupin said, not unkindly. He continued in a very soft voice, “Besides, Draco, you obviously are dead set on hiding whatever fear this is from the world. Wouldn’t it be better to be able to deal with it quickly and effectively if faced with a Boggart in the presence of others? They are really rather common, as I said before.”
Draco still looked unconvinced. “I can perform the spell. I saw everyone do it. If Crabbe and Goyle can do it, it’s not going to be a problem for me!”
“I’m afraid that you are going to have to demonstrate that for me Mr. Malfoy, before I will allow this issue to drop.”
Draco glared at him with all his might.
“I won’t embarrass to you by revealing what you did to the class however, you can come to my office after supper on Saturday and we’ll have a private lesson. Shouldn’t take too long really, we covered the instructional portion in class.”
“You...” Draco sputtered. “You want to teach me? Private lessons? You want to take up my Saturday night when I could be doing something worthwhile? You’re not even worthy of teaching here! You should hear what my father had to say when he found out who was teaching this class! He will not allow me to degrade myself by enduring one-on-one patronizing from you. I am a Malfoy! Look at what you’re wearing for Merlin’s sake! You’re not even fit to be in the same room with me! And can you wipe that bloody smile off your face for once in your pathetic life?!”
Lupin let Draco tire himself out from his tirade, not letting the pleasant smile slip.
“I rather thought you might feel that way, Draco,” he said. If any part of Draco’s rant had fazed him, he didn’t show it. “It’s perfectly alright if you don’t want to learn this spell from me. I understand that you feel very strongly about this particular fear of yours, so if you don’t want me to see it, that’s totally understandable. I’ll make arrangements for someone you feel more comfortable with to give you a lesson. Would Professor Snape be your first choice? He’s more than qualified to teach this class you know.”
Professor Lupin was evil. Pure evil. Why the hell wasn’t he sorted into Slytherin?
“Well since all of the colour is draining from your face, that obviously wasn’t the best idea,” Draco had a feeling that Lupin was trying very hard not to laugh. “I know the answer though. I’d imagine you learned that impressive shield spell from your father. Shall I inform him of this snag we’ve run into? I’m quite confident that he could supervise your learning the Riddikulus charm quite efficiently.”
Draco felt all of the air leave his lungs.
“No?” Lupin asked softly.
There was a long silence.
“Believe it or not I do understand the thoughts in your mind Mr. Malfoy,” Lupin had finally stood up and was gathering his things, clearly having decided that this conversation was over. “I’m afraid though, that I am actually the best candidate for this particular task. You see, I suspect that your reluctance to face this Boggart has to do with shame you seem to feel in regards to your greatest fear. You need someone you can trust to keep it a secret. What better than Gryffindor honour?” Lupin turned and smiled ironically. Before Malfoy could respond with a biting comment, Lupin continued. “But more importantly than honour, I believe that the person you can reveal this fear to has to be someone for whom you have little to no respect. That way you need not worry about losing face in front of them, because how could you possibly care what they think of you?”
Lupin was now very close to him. Draco could smell a faint air of freshness about him. Like the outdoors after the rain. He tried very hard not to meet Lupin’s eyes and instead stared at the strands of greying hair covering his head. Lupin spread his hands, “Someone you know is trustworthy, but for whom you have no respect. Do I fit the bill?”
Draco smirked in response, realizing that for the second time in less than an hour, Professor Lupin had him totally cornered.
“This Saturday, after dinner,” Lupin repeated. He turned and made to exit the room. As his hand touched the door handle, he turned and said, “I will let this extra lesson go under the pretense of detention. Feel free to say whatever you would like to me during the next class we have together so that I may award you this detention in front of your peers.”
And with that, Lupin swept from the room.
Definitely should have been in Slytherin.
“Yes, Mr. Malfoy?” Lupin looked up from the book he was skimming at his desk while the third year Slytherins frantically scribbled their answers to a surprise quiz on properly identifying and disposing of Boggarts.
“Has it come to your attention that you are in fact, being paid to teach at Hogwarts?”
Lupin did not reply, but looked sternly down his nose at Draco.
“I would assume,” Draco continued, “that despite how pathetic that salary might be, you might at least consider investing in some new robes. Not that I’ve had reason to frequent them myself of course, but I hear there are perfectly good second hand shops in Diagon Alley. I realize that it isn’t generally the Gryffindor way to be preoccupied with one’s appearance, but really, I feel that most students must find yours offensive, seeing as we are expected to actually learn from you.”
“Is that all, Mr. Malfoy?” Lupin raised an eyebrow at him. Draco recognized a challenge when he saw one.
“No, as a matter of fact, it isn’t. I was wondering about your parents as well. I can’t imagine you’re a pure blood, otherwise you wouldn’t find yourself in such dire straights financially, unless of course you’re a relative of the Weasley family. Now, I’m hoping you’re at least half-blood. I recognize that Dumbledore is a Muggle loving fool and all, so since I find myself unfortunately enrolled at this pathetic excuse for a learning environment, I will suffer through instruction from half-bloods. But even with my infinite patience I’m afraid I cannot stand the thought of learning magic from a Mudblood. You have to understand, the thought has really been of concern to me.
“Then there is the matter of your constant favouring of the Gryffindors, despite clearly having been sorted into the wrong house yourself. You’re having us bloody up parents, trolls and classmates, but you apparently quiver at the sight of glowing balls? Not very brave, Lupin. Did you have a bad experience with Trelawney after a round of fire-whisky? She show you where she keeps her special crystal balls hidden?”
The nervous classroom tittered at that, and subtly glanced around at each other, wondering what had gotten into Malfoy. He wasn’t really saying anything unusual, but he was generally more careful around teachers, a comment thrown in here and there, but saving this sort of speech for more harmless prey.
“No, that couldn’t be it, could it?” Draco continued. “It’s Potter you have a special relationship with, isn’t it? I heard you were giving him some extra lessons, Professor. I heard you were helping him deal with big bad Dementors so he won’t faint and pass out when they take Mummy away from him again. Where do you slip that chocolate you keep for him, Professor?”
Lupin’s eyes were now the narrowest Draco could imagine they could get. Their eyes met, their glares even.
“Detention, Mr. Malfoy,” Lupin said calmly, betraying nothing. “Saturday night, I think.”
“Right after supper?” Draco sneered, rolling his eyes.
“That will do.”
Lupin returned to his book as if the whole outburst had been a figment of the students’ imagination.
Saturday could not possibly have flown by faster. Draco sat at the Slytherin table at dinner, barely even picking at the meal before him, his stomach in a painful knot.
“Uh...Draco?” Crabbe asked tentatively.
Draco grunted in his general direction.
“Uhh...you’ve been acting a little....funny....since the whole....“Potter” thing...” he trailed off uncertainly. “You’re not still mad are you? It just seemed like...the best thing to do...”
Draco glanced up at him, barely registering the words. “No, I’m not angry about that.”
Draco in fact, hadn’t lost any face at all in light of the so-called “Potter thing”. In fact, most of the students found the idea that an image of Draco could be horrified into destruction by turning into an image of Potter to be highly amusing. Except Potter of course, he was noticeably offended by the whole thing, which was just the icing on the cake, really.
“Okay...” Crabbe trailed off again, seemingly unable to form a full sentence.
Draco waved a hand in disinterest. “Just thinking about this bloody detention, is all.”
He wondered vaguely why he was bothering to reassure the oaf. After all, no one could have predicted the favourable response to the “Potter” thing. He had really put Malfoy’s reputation in jeopardy.
“Okay...what made you talk in class like that, anyway?”
Draco raised an eyebrow at the surprisingly bold question. “Dunno. Just fed up with this fucking school I suppose. Needed to get something out.”
Crabbe seemed to accept that, but continued to look at him with large, uncertain eyes.
“You sure you’re not mad?”
Draco rolled his eyes and ignored him, then briefly wondered how far this annoying worship of him could actually be pushed. An image of Crabbe on his knees in front of him flashed through his mind. Surely if anyone could bend to him, but keep it quiet...
Banishing the disturbing thought from his mind, Draco suddenly was back to feeling ill and not only due to the impending meeting with Professor Lupin. No, that really wouldn’t do at all. He glanced over at Parkinson, her breasts already starting to become noticeable through her school robes. He pulled them off of her with his eyes. Imagining a sea of female flesh. She would never in a million years turn him down even if he walked up to her right now, in the middle of dinner and threw her across the table. He fixed that image in his mind. Nothing? Was he truly so far gone that the disgusting image of Crabbe in all his mentally stunted, pudgy glory was actually preferable? Fuck fuck fuck.