November 14th, 2004 - Today, I laughed
It is rare that I openly laugh in public, but the exception confirms the rule. Dear Merlin, did I laugh! The irony was too great to miss even though my dire sense of humour is usually content with a smirk, a mental laugh or a very short sonorous one. Of course I have a sense of humour as subtle as it is. You do not end up the Head of House of Slytherin while giggling like a Gryffindor. No, I am good at keeping it in check. That is, unless both Albus and Minerva are the mutual cause of my bout of laugher of earlier. My ribs are still aching, maybe I should take the old man's advice and laugh more often, I feel like I have played Quidditch all afternoon. And my poor cheeks are hurting so much I should indulge in a pain-killer potion.
I am sipping wine, an excellent one as always, and I still cannot hide a smile to the events that unfolded this afternoon in the teachers' room... No, I shall never forget that sight: Albus and Minerva desperately trying to get rid of a boggart.
Now, one would think that two powerful wizards such as them would not be vanquished by a mere little boggart. But allow me to extrapolate: I was reading in my bergère chair as usual in the staff room when suddenly, both Minerva and Albus came in. They told me they were after a boggart poor Sprout came upon earlier that day and could not get rid of. I admit that getting rid of a nasty cloud of worms is not easy to deal with for a Herbology teacher. So she asked Minerva and Albus if they could take care of it. Lupin, our "specialist" is off to St. Mungo though unfortunately not on Lockhart's floor. Anyhow, the old couple was on the hunt.
Fortunately, the boggart had rejoined the tenebrous closet before I came in or else I would have been faced with a surprise myself. I am not telling which one. Not that I wouldn't know how to deal with a boggart, I've had the displeasure of meeting one when I was young for the Marauders caught one and let it loose on me... I'd rather not remember that now, it may break my joyful mood.
When Minerva asked me if I wanted to help, I raised an eyebrow and smirked as if to say : "Really, Minerva, you need my help? Can't tackle it yourselves?" She got the point and I knew it the second she so typically pursed her lips and gave herself a pseudo-angry air. I like it so much when she reacts that way. That would be one of the normal occasions where I would smirk.
In the meantime, Albus had already gotten into position at the far back of the room which is, of course, quite large to allow those excruciating parties from time to time. He opened the door and though I could not see clearly his face from where I sat, I could see something was bothering the man when he got in. I frowned as Dumbledore raised his hand, lowered it, and raised it again. What was wrong with him?! It would not take long for me to discover. Suddenly, the door burst open and a cloud of hair-eating lice got a hold of the Headmaster. Unlike normal lice, hair-eating ones are of course meant to literally eat the hair off your body. They only exist in Western Europe in some isolated places, but they are a common enough potions ingredient. So of course the Headmaster would know of their existence.
So the lice got hold of his beard and hair while he frantically called for Minerva's help: "Get them off, get them off! Oh my God! My beautiful beard!! Ahhhh" He was panicked, I mean, he was beyond himself. I was dumbstruck, I couldn't do anything. I was bolted to my chair, my journal forgotten while the greatest wizard alive was being "eaten away" by imaginary lice. The sight was too beautiful, too intense and ridiculous at the same time. The irony of it all struck me like none before. I could have seen the Dark Lord declaring his undying love for Harry Potter and it would not have looked more ironic than that. Great Albus Dumbledore's greatest fear since the Dark Lord was eliminated was this, lice!
Hence I had two solutions: help or laugh. The latter won when Minerva started running after Albus who was himself running across the room like a headless chicken. After all, a Riddikulus is kind of dangerous if cast on someone attacked by a boggart, it's not something to take lightly. And Minerva, in her panic, simply couldn't find anything better than that, she had gotten caught in his animosity as if it were real. It was a sight which even my most stern resolve could not compete against. A rich laugher was heard, I was surprised at first that such a full laugher came from my own throat, but the more I saw Albus trying to get rid of the lice while Minerva had resolved to hitting him with a newspaper that had been lying there to keep him in line while shouting: "Oh you old man! Keep still if you want me to help you". Then, I knew it had to come from me and I let it grow stronger... I laughed so hard, and harder each time I looked at the couple, but I especially laughed of their own panic.
That is when Minerva shouted at me to do something, but by then, I was crippled in two from laughing too hard. Like I said, the exercise was strenuous. I tried to cast the Riddikulus charm, but I could not even take a breath deep enough to say it in one shot. Each time I looked down I was able to take a deep breath, but as soon as I looked at the two of them fighting for their lives, my resolve sank into some more laugher, my rich baritone laughter. Once Minerva realised I would not be of any help whatsoever, she regained her senses, threw the newspaper in Albus' face so hard that stunt him a bit, enough for her to regain her composure and cast the charm herself.
"Riddikulus"! BANG! The lice were gone, the beard was safe, I got a respite but not for long for obviously, the charm was not strong enough to get rid of the boggart altogether. Not surprising. As soon as the boggart left poor Albus alone, it changed itself into... Oh dear! Just thinking about it makes me smile as much as my poor aching face muscles are able to. It changed into... No, I told myself, it can't be. I frowned, doubtful. That thing could not have changed into... dozens upon dozens of ... cat yarn balls?!
Yet, I had to believe it, Minerva was shouting at the top of her lungs: "Arg!!! Help!! Help! Don't let it approach me! If I get tangled in it I swear I won't be responsible for my actions!", she was crying by now while Dumbledore was himself too shocked from the previous incident and double stunt by his Deputy Headmistress being so afraid of silly little balls of yarn! The irony was not lost on him, too. Then, as I said, the Headmaster was still too shocked and kept looking at his beard to check if any real damage had been done like a monkey looking for lunch while that poor Minerva was left alone to cope with her, shall I say, wooly problem for I had doubled with laugher by now. Then she added: "Do something you stupid beard bearing man!! Do something before I hex your balls off!" I was lucky she was talking to Albus or should I say shouting. That got his attention all right. He got hold of himself and cast the final Riddikulus charm that would end this memorable scene.
Minerva was still breathing hard, bent in two and her face was plum from anger and fear. Albus was wise enough not to say another word. When she finally stood up, she unfortunately did not look at Albus, she shot me daggers. Uh-oh!! I stopped laughing. Darn Albus, he knew he would have been on the receiving end of her glare had he said anything once the boggart was eliminated. Now it was my turn.
But being my keen Slytherin self, there was nothing to fear really. Slytherins always have plans to tackle all kinds of situation so as I kept looking at Minerva's murderous face, I could not refrain myself and burst out into almost uncontrollable laughter. I laughed at the irony, at them, at the whole situation, in a word I laughed like never before in my life. I was short on breath already when Albus joined in while Minerva's assassin look moved from me to him. That was a precious moment. The two of us laughing while she tried as hard as hell to pursed her lips as a disapproving mother over her two chicks...
Until she could not help herself and started laughing as well. Oh! That was memorable! I had to grip the front of my chair for support by then while the two others flung themselves into theirs laughing the more. We stayed like that for a while, letting the whole hilarity evaporate. Then, Dumbledore got up and started for the door but Minerva butt in: "Albus? You're not going to tell this to anyone, will you?" You could hear the disguised fear in her voice. "No, indeed, my dear! That shall be our secret! And it would definitely ruin Severus's reputation would it not?", he added looking my way with a smile that told how much he appreciated it when I laughed. I smirked, I had regained my usually composure by then. Minerva left, too, giving me a knowing look before passing the door sill. She knew I would not say a word, but she also knew I would not say anything for my own sake, not hers and vice versa.
Ah! A pleasant afternoon indeed! Now you may ask why the boggart never came to me. Boggarts simply do not attack people who are laughing. Works as well as Riddikulus if you ask me. I better hit the pillow, it's been a long day but for once, a very joyful one.