Take a deep breath and say ‘Ohm’
Thu May 17, 2018 21:26

When Russell returned, he sat down on the floor like a Jenga tower collapsing. Holland stared at the younger student, slightly alarmed. Was Russell shaking? He looked genuinely frightened. Holland knew that that was the goal of a boggart, and they had felt shaken by theirs too, but their reaction had stayed internal.

The boggart had mostly reminded them of first year: the increasingly less-patient arguments Holland had made to Danny in defense of their identity, until they had finally snapped out “Are you so arrogant that you think something can’t exist just because you’ve never heard of it?” and gotten his attention. After that he had begun using their correct pronouns, but it had still been months before he stopped making ignorant comments about gender and derogatory comments about Muggles. Eventually—after Holland called him out in front of their friends—Danny had offered a real apology, made an effort to change his behavior, and started asking Holland social justice questions out of genuine interest. Those conversations had evolved into the discussions about values and personal philosophies that formed the foundation of their friendship, and except for the fight after the beach party last year, things had been steady ever since. Unless Danny spontaneously reverted to holding his first-year prejudices, Holland was certain that neither of them would say things like their boggarts had just now, but knowing that their boggart was drawing on memory didn’t make the comments any less unsettling.

Surveying the room, Holland met Marissa’s gaze. They rolled their eyes resignedly at her amused expression, already accepting that they were going to get teased by the rest of the group about this. Holland glanced at Danny once more—he was looking at them again, or possibly he had never looked away—and gave him another “really, I’m fine” nod before sitting down beside Russell. They could still see the area of the room where the next student was facing off with the boggart from here, and they kept part of their attention there as the class progressed.

“A little,” they admitted with a half-grin. “It’s getting better, though.” Holland had handled their boggart more smoothly than Russell, so at least they’d shown composure when they could. They couldn’t control the form their boggart took any more than they could control Danny’s. It all just seemed like such a… clichéd, teenager-caught-up-in-a-relationship thing.

But Russell looked like a papier-mâché giraffe that hadn’t finished drying yet, so Holland felt like talking to him would be a better use of their time than dissecting their weird boggart-induced feelings. “You know, your boggart affected everyone in the room, not just you, and you dealt with it on your own,” they said, nodding to Remington Burnham, who had just rushed in to rescue Teal from a lethifold that the older Draco clearly wasn’t capable of handling. “The first time I faced a boggart, Professor Rasnick had to give me suggestions of how to make it funny. I couldn’t think of anything.” By then they’d seen Danny deal with his Bludger and Marissa with her dragon, but Holland’s boggart had been harder to make entertaining. “Why’d you go with a cheese wheel?”

  • Can't generate an answer to that one - Russell , Thu May 3 22:26
    Russell was vaguely aware of a voice. Although his attention was still far too occupied with the oppressive heat around him to register who the voice belonged to, he was able to recognize that it was ... more
    • Take a deep breath and say ‘Ohm’ - Holland, Thu May 17 21:26
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