The tall wardrobe rattled violently, thumping it’s solid legs against the floor with every jerk. The students around her gazed at it intently, as if the sole reason for the unpredictable movement was about to willingly present itself for all to see.
“Intriguing, yes? Would anyone like to venture a guess as to what’s inside?” Professor Lupin turned to face the class, his eyes finally landing on Dean Thomas after a moments hesitation.
“Is that a boggart, Sir?” Dean asked warily, never meeting the Professor’s eyes, a trait many of the students had apparently developed.
It was most probably because of Professor Lupin’s haggard appearance and lack of confidence that caused the students to shy away from conversing with him as they would with the other teachers, but Hermione wasn’t one for judging people by their looks, and she intended to give the Profesor the same treatment she gave to almost all the Professors at Hogwarts, her utmost respect.
“Excellent, Mr. Thomas. Now, can anyone describe to us what a Boggart looks like?” His eyes then settled on Hermione, who looked rather disheveled and out of place amongst the students.
“No one knows.” She nodded in affirmation at her own answer.
Ron turned to face her and jerked wildly as he noticed their proximity. He shakily pointed a finger at her. “When’d she get here?” He asked Harry, who shrugged in response.
“Boggarts are shape-shifters. They take the shape of whatever a particular person fears most. That’s what makes it so-” Hermione recited, as it was a familiar paragraph from one of the many books she had read over the summer until Lupin rather rudely interrupted.
“Terrifying, yes. Luckily, a very simple charm exists to repel a Boggart. Let’s practice it now, shall we? Without wands, please… Riddikulus!” He made a motion that resembled a conductor for an orchestra, a small smile on his face as the students called out ‘Riddikulus’ in unison. All except for Draco Malfoy and his gang.
“This class is ridiculous.” Draco muttered softly, yet still loud enough for the professor to hear.
“Excellent, Mr Malfoy has graciously volunteered to go first. But you see, the incantation alone is not enough. What really finishes a Boggart off is…laughter. You need to force it to assume a shape you find truly amusing.” Lupin gestured towards Malfoy, summoning him to the front of the class.
Malfoy apprehensively eyed the once again rattling wardrobe, ignoring the scoffs that came from the Gryffindor students. Hermione eyed him sceptically, what could Malfoy possibly be scared of except his precious Father saying no to an extra bedroom? He was a spoilt prat and silently, Hermione felt happy he was being made an example of in front of the whole class.
“What would you say is the thing that frightens you most?” The Professor asked, Draco’s eyes never lifted from the floor in front of him.
“I’m not scared of anything.” Draco muttered, his heart raced at the thought of his worst fears being shown to the class, his inferiors and his enemies. He shrugged it off, before fixing his gaze on the mirrored doors.
“Well, I highly doubt that. Don’t worry, Malfoy, you’re with friends and classmates here, nothing to be embarrassed about.” Lupin spoke softly, flashing a small, genuine smile in the boys direction.
'Friends? Not bloody likely.’ Draco thought.
“Right then, Mr Malfoy. Wand at the ready. One. Two. Three!” Lupin pointed his wand at the wardrobe, and as if on cue, sparks flew from the tip of his wand, striking the doorknob until the door swung open.
A tall man, with long pale blonde hair stepped out of the cupboard. His eyes were narrowed at the boy who shrunk considerably before him.
Draco took a step back, his eyes never wavering from his father’s vicious scowl. Draco began to tremble, it had been a while since his father had looked so deranged with rage, usually triggered by too much fire whiskey and Draco’s cheeky remarks. His mother, Narcissa had almost always taken the blame for Draco’s mistakes, allowing him to escape to his bedroom momentarily whilst his Father screamed horrible insults at the poor woman until he passed out.
He was seven when he first laid eyes on his mother’s hollowed cheeks and sunken eyes. She looked far older than he had ever seen her, not that he spoke that thought aloud. He had learnt from experience never to talk about things which did not concern him, such as his father’s abusive habits and his alcohol abuse, or his mother’s reluctance to leave him and save herself and her son.
Draco didn’t blame his mother, not in the slightest. She was, after all, a woman blinded by publicity, power, and all the gold in the Malfoy vault at Gringotts, which was apparantly worth far more than a few bruises and cuts.
“Think, Malfoy. Think!” Lupin urged him, standing idly beside the wardrobe.
“R-r-riddikulus!” Malfoy stammered as Lucius raised his palm into the air. He flicked his wand and with a crack and a flash of light, his father stumbled back, now donning a ridiculously frilly, pink dress and a pair of bubble gum pink high heels.
The rest of the class roared with laughter as Draco turned his back on his father and stood at the back of the classroom, separated from his fellow Slytherins who refused to look in his direction. Hermione turned to look at him as he slumped defeatedly against the stone wall. She instantly felt a wave of empathy for the boy, as she could only imagine what he had to endure all his life with that small glimpse into his home life.
It was no wonder that Malfoy had became a bully, it’s what his father would have taught him, a family tradition. Although it felt awfully invasive, seeing one of Malfoy’s weaknesses along with the rest of the class, she couldn’t help but wonder why Draco was so scared of the man who always hid behind.