Claudia Dubois
Sat Apr 28, 2018 14:16

Professor Embers was okay. Claudia knew that a lot of the other students didn’t like her, and it was true that her teaching was sporadic at best, but she was far more approachable than many of the other professors, and certainly moreso than their previous DADA teacher. However Claudia really objected to whole school classes, and really years three to seven was close enough to count. That was too many people in one room all at once, and she’d been accustomed to the seventh years not being around in Defense classes (incidentally, the only two classes Claudia had in common with Holland and Danny together - Spellwork and DADA - did not require the presence of the seventh years, which was a genuine blessing), so their renewed presence was distinctly unwelcome. Upon realising that she was supposed to sit on the floor in her ivory A-line skirt, the fourth year was further incensed. She did the best she possibly could to ensure her uniform robe was between the ground and her skirt - coupled with pale yellow ballet flats and a pale yellow fitted blouse - and she settled with a disgruntled resignation to discover their class assignment.

The professor did not keep her waiting long (nor did her chalkboard, which Claudia ducked to avoid, merely worsening her mood). Boggarts were not the absolute worst creature Claudia had come across in her readings, but neither did she relish the thought of encountering one. There was one creature in particular she would loathe to encounter, and she rather suspected her boggart might become that, thus rendering the distinction of placement redundant. She expected she would find out soon enough if her suspicions were correct, which in itself was a terrifying prospect, although first the older students in class contributed a little more to her understanding of the topic. What they were not given, however, was a demonstration of how to execute the spell, nor the opportunity to practise the requisite spell.

As the class began to rise, Claudia moved with moderately concealed alarm away from the front of the line. She was determined to put this inevitability off as long as she could, but in order to be prepared, she strongly desired to see the spell being correctly cast at least a couple of times. Keeping back and to the side, in a position which in no way suggested she was eager to approach the rattling chest (and in fact placed her reasonably close to the exit), Claudia watched as the first student - oh, of course it was Danny. Naturally he would want to be the first to show off in front of so many people. Claudia pursed her lips. Only an idiot would be so keen to meet his fear.

In that precise moment, it occured to Claudia that she would not be the only one to witness her fear taking a corporeal form in the practical lab; everyone would see. Which in some cases might not be too bad, for instance if one was afraid of snakes or that confounded tarantula Kit Kendrick had taken to carrying everywhere - if Claudia was ever alone with the creature she’d be forced to cast a rather particular charm on it that would make Darlene’s life considerably more pleasant - nobody would bat an eyelid. If one were afraid of jelly beans, on the other hand, or something equally trivial, one could be subject to immense judgment, or teasing, or possibly one’s fear being used against them. Fears were an incredibly personal concept, and, Claudia realized as she looked at the lid rising from the ancient chest, she knew what Danny’s was. He had told her, in the Diner, about the effects of the Waking Nightmare Hex. They essentially shared the same concerns about losing everything, except for Danny, ‘everything’ was a far broader concept than it was for Claudia.

Quite how a boggart was supposed to represent a fear of losing everything was not immediately clear to Claudia, but in the second it took for the creature to make itself known, she imagined it might be one of their parents denouncing Dardanius, rejecting him and denying him reentry to their house, or to their family. She would be delighted to see it. She even took a hesitant step closer, prepared to treasure the memory of her brother being properly admonished for his transgressions.

Holland? Claudia’s brown eyes widened in surprised confusion. The message the boggart was delivering was essentially what Claudia had expected, but the chosen vessel was a surprise. It was… astoundingly mortifying. Anyone who did not hear the words might assume Danny was just scared of Holland, and anyone who heard the words but did not understand them might just think that Danny was scared of being broken up with. It was so embarrassing. Claudia knew her brother didn’t care what other people thought, but she did, and right now she was sufficiently ashamed for the both of them.

Claudia was unable to enjoy this moment. Even were it not for the humiliation of seeing Holland where her parents ought to be, and despite her abhorrence of her brother’s unorthodox relationship, it was wretched to hear those words being addressed to Danny, in that tone, from a person he clearly admired. Even now he was looking to the real Holland, as though somehow seeing them would help, while the boggart was saying awful things. Claudia’s stomach clenched; Holland admonishing Dardanius was not a memory she would treasure.

She was not enjoying this class in the slightest. In fact she had retraced the earlier starts she’d taken towards the boggart, and retreated yet further towards the door. The fourth year glanced at it longingly. She knew her boggart would become a pogrebin, and that the corresponding despair and misery would accompany it (more diluted than for a genuine pogrebin, but probably effective nonetheless); she did not need to discover this for herself. Nor did she desire to test a spell for the first time in the company of so vast a proportion of the school’s population.

Claudia lingered indecisively a few minutes longer. Some of the others students faced the creature; Claudia found their forms puzzling rather than frightening, yet with each incarnation she felt her resolve to remain in the room weakening. As she wondered whether Professor Embers would even notice if she left the class, Claudia’s attention snapped back towards the chest as she heard Danny’s voice - and saw Danny. Except it wasn’t Danny. Great Merlin that was revolting. They had matching boggarts? Claudia’s stomach churned, and her cheeks were several shades closer to red than usual; even for a normal relationship this spectacle was perverse. Yet the cause for her disgusted grimace was of different origin: even Claudia would not call Holland ‘delusional freak’ - not even in her head, let alone to their face. She felt… something. She wasn’t sure what, but she wasn’t prepared to deal with this class any longer.

Within moments, Claudia was striding rapidly along the corridors, taking the fastest route back to Cetus, her skirt and uniform robes billowing gently around her legs, her heart rate accelerated and her breathing laboured. She only hesitated for a moment when she saw a figure up ahead. It was only Dade, who was also supposed to be in the class Claudia had just quit. It seemed like he had been avoiding her recently, but Claudia didn’t know why; Dade could often be quite grumpy. Even now he seemed to be kicking a wall. “Boggarts not appealing to you, either?” she called across the short distance between them.

  • - Dade Farnon, Sat Apr 28 12:50
    It was time for Defense Against the Dark Arts, which Dade no longer had with Connor, which was about the nicest thing he could say about the class. It was run by Kit’s aunt, who was weird and lame,... more
    • Same - Claudia Dubois, Sat Apr 28 14:16
      • But different - Dade, Sat Apr 28 14:21
        It was Claudia walking down the hall, trying to talk to him like they were friends still. They weren’t friends still. She was Connor’s friend, not Dade’s friend. “Go. away.” Dade said through gritted ... more
        • Quite different - Claudia, Sun Apr 29 10:36
          Dade’s habitual rudeness as he told her to go away grated less on Claudia than usual. She was still incensed by his audacity to speak to anyone like that - he’d had the same upbringing as Connor; how ... more
          • Now for something completely different! - Shifty Eyes, Mon Apr 30 21:13
            Despite the constant malfunctioning of the school, it had been a quiet time for Shifty at Rocky Mountain International. He felt almost disappointed that so much mayhem was caused by someone other... more
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