The boggart began its warping and twisting, readying itself for its next opponent.
What shall I be now? Eleanora watched it intently waiting for any hint as to what it will be because the truth was, she really didn't know.
Yes, spiders were unpleasant and would make her jump if it's any bigger than a fingernail, but was what she felt fear? Or was it something she really didn't mind, she just would rather not?
She was slightly afraid of the dark, but not enough to stop her from sleeping, even if the branches by her window were up all night, making those prickly claws appear on her bedroom walls.
No-no, none of that made her shiver, if anything it spiked her curiosity.
The anticipation was building inside. What am I afraid of? She wondered, thinking if it was possible for her to feel afraid of anything.
Until it was there, clear as day as a deafening silence suffocated the classroom. Her eyes solely on the figure before her.
They were dressed in layers of white organza with silk lining and a ribbon criss-crossing down the back. Bejewelled with pearls and shimmering appliques, it was a work of stunning art.
Eleanora was silent, her breathing below a whisper as she took in the veil cascading down. But the hands. The hands told her a different story. They drooped motionless at the figures' side.
The bouquet of bright sunflowers was barely being held. It was to fall at any moment. She dared to take a step closer, "Miss Wolfsbane..." her Professor warned.
But, that room was dormant, like the quiet before the storm.
The figures hair was barely held up with the flowers placed so elegantly. The escaped strands covered their face, but Eleanora could see it all.
A face she scarcely recognised, her eyes were red and swollen. Her lips smeared, dried and cracking and her skin was greying and tight, as if the sculptor was running out of clay.
A bride that was never meant to be, that was what was before her. It made her numb, that face. Her face. Her cold and broken face.
Eleanora regained use of her limbs and raised a shaken hand towards the face in dread. Then she was gone, or rather, it was gone, the boggart. Back into the cupboard and locked up once more.
She was no older than thirty but had aged in a split second of woe, this was enough to haunt Eleanora for the rest of her days.
Only then did she realise that the class was now empty, it was now only her professor, her and the lingering memory that was now ingrained within the rooms walls.
He was stood in front of her with a face that said it all, how could you fear so much pain? You're a child.
She blinked her few tears away, regained consciousness and wet her lips, trying to make her look and feel as normal as she could whilst trying to calm the rhythm of her breathing.
"Sorry, Professor." She hesitantly walked away, almost forgetting her books.
"Nora." His voice hoarse.
"I'm sorry Professor. I didn't know what to expect. If I knew I wouldn't have embarrassed myself". She could hear it now, all the taunting and the questions.
Why did she let herself shut down like that? She knew she would only live to regret it. "Nora.
" He said a little more audibly, "did you not know what you were afraid of?" She stopped at the doorway.
She contemplated the question, "I suppose I've never really thought about it.
" Her eyes were drifting in thought, looking for the words that have always been there, but at the back of her mind, covered in colours and light and all things she was known for.
"I pride myself in being the light, and the humour in uncomfortably dark situations. I care for others, even if they don't care for me.
But, that's alright, because sometimes just knowing that someone is there is sometimes all the comfort you need."
"And who is there for you?" He raised his brow.
"No one. But that isn't why I am the way I am. I don't do it for my own gain. In fact I don't even think of it like that because,"she paused, "it does just sort of come naturally".
The professor was quiet for a moment or two, assessing the information that has been revealed to him and began to calculate his next response.
"When you saw, what you did-"he spoke slowly, as if he was trying not to scare a creature away with any sudden movements, or this case, truths. "did it tell you what you needed to know?"
She averted his gaze, she just wanted to go anywhere that was free from persistent stares or mutters. Hogwarts was usually an escape but as of this moment, she feared it had become anything but.
"Eleanora?" He braced himself on a desk that was pushed to the side of the classroom to make place for the activities of the day, little did he know what was going to occur.
His speech was once again premeditated, "what are you afraid of?" The question she never thought to avoid, it had never even been something on her mind so she didn't even know how to avoid it.
Her unfamiliar masquerade falling apart before it was even existing, all because of a Boggart. She pressed her lips together, tightly.
She was sure her teeth would leave marks, and looked at her shoes. What is it that I fear? Or is it simpler than I think? She thought long and hard.
Going over what she saw, that haunting ghost of a bride that never should have been, the flowers drying up before her eyes. The bride without a groom. The bride that was alone.
She managed to croak out, he didn't move, they both knew there was more, all within good time would it be revealed.
Eleanora was reluctant to admit the evidence she began to piece together in her mind.
"I'm afraid of loneliness-and if I ever find someone that makes me as happy as I feel I make others, so happy that I fall deeply, deeply into love, and comfort." She took a breath, "and then.
When the time comes they will leave and I will be left once again with a gaping wound I have within me that will never be healed. Because for the first time, I had someone. That was there.
Constantly." His face was loose, but his brows were pulled together because he could finally see the pain she was hiding from everyone, including himself, and especially herself.
"The truth is professor. People like me, people who fake that they don't have a care in the world, in fact, are the complete opposite. I am scared-no-terrified of my path.
I know I cannot see the future and even if I did, the truth petrifies me."
He was still looking at her, with his face covered in pity. "You see. People like me, we know what emptiness is. It hangs about like a damp smell. We may never find happiness.
But, we can bring it to others. So that hopefully one less person will fear loneliness and maybe even eventually we can eradicate it all together and there will finally be a light for me.
And that Professor-is what I am afraid of." He didn't know what to say, there was nothing he could. Eleanora knew it so she began to walk again to the door, listening to her own footsteps.
She turned, "Thank you, Professor. I'll see you next week", she smiled softly, but it wasn't the same.
He could see everything now, standing from the desk he rubbed his eyes and ran his hands through his hair then stared at the beams in the classroom.
"That's enough Boggarts for this term" he strained.
Eleanora headed back to her dormitory,
she'll just tell Professor next week she caught a tummy bug from Margot's crackling fig candies because right now she wouldn't be able to focus on any part of divination.
She didn't need any more revealing whether it was through a crystal ball or tea leaves. Her feet were the only noise that echoed through the hallways, she didn't look up even once.