Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any works associated with it. All rights go to JK.
I'm pretty certain I got this from a tumblr headcanon thing, but I can't find it again and I've altered it quite a bit. There are a few OCs in this, so if you hate even reading about OCs, this probably isn't for you.
George Weasley was the best DADA teacher any of the Hogwarts students had ever had.
He opened their first lesson with "I'd never have come back to this hell-pit, leaving my shop in Lindsey's capable hands, if I hadn't seen it as my duty to help the future generation through this trying time, and spread a little bit of mischief. Remember: school is not good."
He was well-known for rarely turning up to lessons; instead leaving behind an empty classroom, a pile of joke products, and an order on the board to 'give them hell'. None of his students were quite sure who 'they' were, but they had a great deal of fun trying to find out.
He ran a DADA club that met every other day, with a confusing system of which years would be allowed to attend. It was so complex that there was a whole other club, dedicated just to figuring out his system. They hadn't cracked it yet. But since he had guests like Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, it came as little surprise that it was the very height of extra-curricular activity, and came to be known simply as The Club.
It was the subject of many bets as to how he hadn't been fired yet, what with his constant absence and annoying habit of calling the Headmistress 'Minnie'. But when you took into account the fact that every one of his OWL and NEWT students somehow achieved an O, DADA attendance was at an all-time high, and the personal recommendation of Harry Potter… well, you started to get an idea.
So it was a group of anticipatory third years who opened the door to the DADA classroom one Friday. And there Professor Weasley was; perched on the edge of his desk and wearing a stupid grin. "Hello young Padawans," he greeted as they took their seats. "And welcome to the first lesson this year that I've actually turned up to. A round of applause, please!"
His students obliged.
"Good, now according to this curriculum that dear Minnie so helpfully handed me," he waved the piece of parchment cheerfully, "I'm supposed to be teaching you about boggarts. Normally I don't like following the rules, but I've been informed by our wonderful Headmistress that this will be very important in the end of year test that I'm apparently going to be setting, so let's get on with it." He got to his feet. "Firstly, can anyone tell me what a boggart is?"
An uncomfortable silence followed, as everyone desperately tried to recall if they had covered this in The Club.
"Well?" George asked, raising his eyebrows sternly.
The class shook their heads ashamedly.
George suddenly broke into a smile that lit up the entire room. "Don't worry your little heads off, we haven't covered this yet. A boggart, my little midgets, is the peskiest bugger in the universe. A shape-shifter that takes the form of your greatest fear; it can be a real pain when you're duelling. But, seeing as it can't touch you," he waved his fingers, "how else could it have an effect? Anyone?" He looked around expectantly.
Adam nervously raised his hand, and George nodded at him.
"Distraction?" Adam said uncertainly.
"Excellent!" George congratulated joyfully, little party poppers exploding around the classroom. Everyone immediately looked at them, and before Adam knew it, his wand was in the Professor's hand.
"Distraction is the key to winning a duel, and therefore a prank too. I see the seeds of a prankster in you, young one." He winked at Adam, who blushed and sank down in his seat, catching his wand as it was thrown to him.
George wiggled his eyebrows. "But distraction is the subject of another lesson, namely one in The Club on Wednesday… or is it Thursday?" Professor Weasley raised his eyebrows as the class took a simultaneous breath. "Probably neither, but best to check with that adorable little club you students have going on. So anyway, distraction over, how could we defeat a boggart?"
No one raised their hands.
"Come on!" George urged. "Think! It takes the form of your greatest fear?"
Mandy cleared her throat.
"Come on Mandy, tell us what you think!" George told her, climbing onto his chair.
"Um." Mandy looked cornered. "You could… conquer your fear? Y'know, just… stop being scared?"
"Great idea Mandy!" George praised, looking triumphant.
Mandy appeared quite shocked at her own brilliance.
"But not quite it." George shrugged. "Unfortunately, once you face your fear, a new one takes its place. No one is truly fearless, and so a boggart will always have something to latch onto. New ideas!" George jumped onto his desk and it immediately transfigured into a horse, which he sat upon side-saddle.
"You could run?" Leon called out.
George looked pointedly at the boy's green tie. "I suppose you could. But what if the person you were duelling had a person you loved captive, and running away would leave them to perish painfully?"
"You could run," Leon repeated with a smirk, to a chorus of sniggering from his Housemates.
"I suppose you would." George fixed him with a disapproving gaze, before addressing the rest of the class. "And if you don't want to take the coward's way out?" George looked over the third years, his horse letting out a quiet whinny. No one had an answer.
"Well I'll tell you what you do- laugh! The only true way to defeat a boggart is laughter. And no, it's not exactly like facing your fear," he told Mandy as she opened her mouth, "But it does show the boggart that you're not afraid of it, that you're willing to fight. It doesn't mean you're not scared, just that you're brave. And that can be the most important thing in the world."
"Um, sir?" Ellie raised her hand. "Isn't it… hard? To laugh, when faced by your greatest fear?"
"Of course it is!" George declared. "I wouldn't be teaching it to you if it was easy, that would be pointless. No, if it was easy, I'd let Leon teach it."
There was a ripple of laughter, and George waited for it to die down before speaking again, lowering his voice conspiratorially.
"But there is something. Just one little spell, and the fear goes away. One powerful spell, and that boggart is no longer the horrifying creature of your dreams…"
Everyone leaned in.
"And rather appropriately, that spell sounds a little bit like ridiculous!" And the spell was broken. "You just say the incantation 'riddikulus' and wave your wand, like so." He demonstrated. "Some people, like my good friend Harry Potter, can use a more specific spell, but we can't all be Harry Potter. Well, sometime we can, but that is a story that I'll leave for another time, as it involves a defiance of the Ministry and polyjuice, that I'm not entirely sure I'm allowed to speak of in a classroom. Your parents might send letters. And while I'm usually all for sticking it to the man, it would be a lot of paperwork… so! If you'll all get out your wands and practise, we can crack on and hopefully get to the exciting bit."
The class practised for ten minutes, with Professor Weasley walking around, handing out hints and the occasional Puking Pastille.
"Now!" George shouted, quietening the class as they took their seats again. "For the best bit. My good friends, the Hogwarts House Elves, have managed to procure a boggart for us to practise on. So… Ellie! Why don't you come to the front as the first to try?"
The brunette stumbling to the front amidst the applause of her classmates, gripping her wand tightly in her hand.
"Everyone else, get back. We don't want to confuse the boggart with our fears."
The students moved their desks to the side and brought their chairs to the back, sitting on them and staring at Ellie eagerly. A few of her friends looked nervous.
George crouched down, staring into Ellie's face. "Now, Ellie. What scares you the most?"
She mumbled something.
"Speak up Elles, I don't think we got that."
"W-water." she stuttered. ("Her parents drowned on a boating trip last summer," Mandy whispered to the girl next to her.)
"An excellent fear!" George told Ellie.
"Thanks," she muttered dubiously.
"Now, do you like chocolate?" George asked her seriously.
"Good! I'm afraid I would have had to kick you out if you said no, so good choice," George laughed, and the class giggled too. Leon shuffled uncomfortably in his seat.
"I want you to picture the water in your head. Are you doing that?"
Ellie turned white, and nodded minutely.
"Excellent! When the boggart appears, I want you to picture the water turning to chocolate, add something else if you want to, just picture it, and say the spell we just learned! Okay?"
Ellie nodded again.
"Marvellous." George straightened up and moved towards the cupboard in the corner of the classroom. "Now, there's a boggart in here. I want you to be absolutely sure you're prepared. Are you?"
"Yes," Ellie spoke quietly.
"Good. And… now!" George flung open the door and moved back, standing just close enough to be able to step in if it got out of hand.
As the class turned their attention to the open cupboard, they noticed the thin trail of water trickling out. The liquid was black, dark and murky, and even those who had no problem with water felt a shiver of unease. The trail grew larger, until it was pouring out steadily, thick and deep. Ellie was visibly terrified, taking small, shaky steps back.
"Ellie!" George shouted. "Use the spell!"
The brunette held up her wand, the tip pointed directly at the approaching wave. "R-riddikulus," she whispered.
"Picture the chocolate, Ellie!" George commanded, beginning to move forwards.
"Riddikulus!" Ellie said more firmly, and the water immediately turned to chocolate, pooling in front of the cupboard. Ellie let out a shaky laugh of relief, and George dragged her back. "Adam! Your turn!"
The boy stepped up, and immediately the chocolate turned to a huge t-rex, snarling as it advanced. "Riddikulus!" Adam cried, and suddenly the dinosaur was in a tutu.
The rest of the class ran smoothly, until it came to Leon's turn. When he stepped forward, the boggart transformed into a faceless figure, dragging a beaten and bloody woman behind him. "Mum?" Leon asked, horrified, and the temperature in the room dropped.
"You'd run, eh?" George muttered to himself as he watch the young Slytherin take a few short steps towards the awful scene before him.
"This is all your fault boy," the faceless figure growled. "If you'd just been a bit better, a little less stupid, maybe I wouldn't have needed to punish her!"
"I'm sorry sir," Leon pleaded, eyes fixed to his moaning mother. He fell to his knees, reaching out a trembling hand. "I'll be better, I swear. Please, just don't hurt her!"
The man took another step. He was beginning to form a face, become less and less hazy. "You know what, boy? I don't believe you! Maybe I'll have to make sure!" He shook the woman, and she shrieked.
George furrowed his brow, icy-cold realisation forming.
"Sir! Do something!" Mandy yelled.
George didn't respond.
"Sir!" she screamed.
George snapped out of it and whipped out his wand, but before he could do anything, Ellie threw herself in front of Leon. The boggart turned from the man and the woman into a pool of black water, but Ellie let out a harsh laugh, tinged with grief. The boggart let out a shriek and dissipated into smoke, returning to the cupboard.
"Right," George shook his head, returning to his senses and calming the class. "Okay. That's all for now, I think. Ryan, I think you should escort Leon here to the Hospital Wing. He appears a little shaken, and I think it would give our nurse a great deal of peace to watch over him as he recovers. Make up for all the stress I'm going to cause her soon," he joked weakly.
The students began to pack up, but Mandy didn't move. "What's your boggart, sir?" she asked curiously.
"I'm not sure we have time-"
"We have five minutes," Adam said, checking the clock in the corner. Every looked at their professor expectantly.
George sighed and sent them a smile tinted with sadness. "Very well," he spoke and took a steady step forwards, the boggart emerging again.
But it wasn't Voldemort, or a dementor, or a Death Eater that appeared. It wasn't Inferi, or green light, or a corpse. It wasn't a vampire, or a zombie, or a monster.
Instead, a full length mirror appeared, and smashed as it fell to the floor.
The bell rang, and the class began to clear away, shooting tentative looks towards their teacher.
In the end, only Ellie was left, standing uncertainly by her desk. "Sir," she asked. "Why is your boggart a mirror? What's so scary about that?"
George smiled again, and moved towards the door. As he left the room, he looked behind him, face half-covered in darkness. Ellie could have sworn she saw an exact duplicate of him, standing behind his shoulder in the shadows.
"It's not the mirror that scares me, Ellie," he said softly. "It's what I see in it."
"But it's just your reflection."
He sent her another sorrowful smile, looking behind him like he could see the figure too. "Exactly."
And then he left, the door swinging shut as his footsteps echoed down the hallway. But the odd thing was; there were two sets.