The Sugar Quill
Author: Maidenjedi (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Nothing to Fear  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

TITLE: Nothing to Fear
AUTHOR: Maidenjedi
RATING: R
ARCHIVE: List archives, otherwise please ask.
SPOILERS: none, but needs GoF to be understood
KEYWORDS: angst
DISCLAIMER: Harry Potter and all affiliated characters belong to J.K. Rowling.
SUMMARY: Late at night, in the Slytherin common room, a Hogwarts student contemplates fear and the Dark side.

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HP Improv #6 more - sweep - period - animal

Author's Notes at the end.

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When he was a very small child, the dark frightened him. He would thrash about, kicking and screaming and yelling for his mother. His father would come into the room and tell him in no certain terms to calm the hell down, it was only nighttime, nothing to fear.

Nothing to fear.

He sat now in a darkened common room, empty of the usual clamor of students. There was no moon out tonight, and for that he was thankful. Nothing to fear, right, Dad? He swallowed back years of bitter rhetoric; his father was far away, and even the fears of childhood seemed petty and weak in the face of greater danger.

A week before, the Dark Mark had appeared, glittery and menacing, over the streets of Hogsmeade. All of Slytherin was placed under scrutiny, not so much officially as discriminately by other students. His lip curled in a bitter, disdainful sneer. Had to be a Slytherin gone bad, hadn't it? Gryffindor especially seemed to glance in Slytherin's direction whenever "Dark Arts" were mentioned. Couldn't possibly be the house of the mighty lion, could it, that bred Dark magicians? Had to be the snake, that dastardly clever animal, the devil's form of choice and the very symbol of the Dark Arts.

It was a token argument at best. He knew as well as anyone that it had been a Slytherin in Hogsmeade, and it would be so hard to determine who, with students being withdrawn or even deserting in greater numbers every day. He wondered if that person sat next to him each day in Potions, or if it would be the next person to walk through the portrait hole.

He wondered, somewhat maniacally, if it could be him.

They'd read all about the Imperious Curse in Defense Against the Dark Arts at the beginning of the fall term. He remembered sniggering along with a friend, at what fun it would be to control what someone else was doing. Of course, points were taken from Slytherin for it, their professor muttering at how flippant students had become, at how they simply didn't understand.

Didn't understand what? he felt like screaming at the professor, who had turned to answer some inane question from a Hufflepuff in the front row. Some of us, he thought now, have seen what the Dark Arts will do to a person. Some of us have witnessed death and destruction far beyond that about which our peers whisper excitedly.

He sighed, feeling the pressure of lost sleep weigh heavily on him, knowing it would cost him dearly in the weeks ahead. He would have given in, but more and more his dreams were plagued with nightmares, visions of times best forgotten. His father's voice, vehement pleas and demands for his son to just listen, to try and understand the allure that was Dark magic. To give in, to join the cause, to allow himself to be tattooed and summoned at will.

Someone's will. Some other will.

He thought of his father's face, his expression. Since the first Dark Mark lit up the night months ago, that expression had turned from bitter anger to something darker, more twisted.

Fear.

He drew in a breath, suddenly understanding.

Fear had turned his father evil, swept him up in a storm of hatred and prejudice. Fear would work that same magic in him, because he was his father's son, and there was some vital truth in that old admonishment.

Only nighttime, nothing to fear.

Nothing to fear.

Nothing to fear, but fear itself.

Danger was imminent, the very halls of Hogwarts were no longer as safe as they once were, but it was not evil curses or Dementors or a man in a sweeping black cloak come to collect a debt. The danger, he realized, was giving in to fear. The next night, sleep came easily, and the boy's nightmares subsided.

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Thanks to Zsenya for beta. You've made me a better writer in just a few short weeks! I am eternally grateful to you!!!

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" was uttered first by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The idea for this fic, however, comes from none other than Yoda. "Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering."

As always, thanks to Twinkledru J. for hosting the HPImprov (which you'll find at http://imnotbitter.net/hpimprov), and this story is dedicated to Michael, for being an inspiration and my best friend.

Feedback at texgoddess@yahoo.com 1

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