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Chapter 2: Potions, Sixth Year.
Awesome chapter image by ariana_tithe @ TDA.
Beta'd by the fantastic kurlz.
I do not make galleons from this, however much I would like to.
I had always hated Potions. Maybe it is just something I picked up from my dad, but putting pickled toads’ eyes or wolfsbane into a boiling hot cauldron isn’t exactly my idea of fun. Give me a broomstick and I’m yours, but give me deadly nightshade and a bezoar and I have no idea what the hell is going on. To be honest, what Amelie could ever find attractive in this subject I have no idea. You wouldn’t expect her to be the sort of girl to plunge her bare hands into barrels of dragon liver and scoop out great handfuls of the stuff. But, alas, she seems to be made of stronger stuff.
I sat down next to Amelie in our usual space in the back to the dingy dungeon classroom, the rain slashing at the grimy windows. I was prepared to watch her do all the work and slice the old valerian root now and again, but Slughorn decided that it would be ‘fun’ to switch partners for this new topic. By the time you are however old Slughorn is (which is very old), your ideas of fun have severely diminished and therefore the entire class groaned audibly.
“Looks like you might have to do some work for a change,” Amelie whispered into my ear, as Slughorn pinned the new list of partners to the notice board.
“Shut up, Amelie. I do a lot of work, thank you very much,” I retorted and lazily flicked through my potions book, looking at all the pointless doodles and drawings on the inside cover. I heard Amelie scoff disbelievingly as she walked over to the board. She studied the list for a few minutes.
“You’re with Megan Armstrong, Jimmy” she called across the classroom. Amelie was the only one who was ‘allowed’ to call me Jimmy without being hexed. It was something to do with her being my oldest and best friend. If anyone else tried to call me that, I would hex them into next week. Edward Finch-Fetchley still had tentacles.
Most of the students in the classroom were now moving from different tables to sit with their new partners. A pretty, petite Ravenclaw was walking over to my table, her books clutched tightly in her hands. Her group of friends were jumping and giggling behind her, pointing very unsubtly at me. Megan looked at me like I was some sort of saint (which I am, no doubt), her mouth hanging open and perched nervously in the seat beside me, stealing glances at me as I sat casually in my chair. I leaned in close towards her, placing my arm on the back of her chair and she visibly stiffened.
“You won’t mind doing most of the work for me, Meg? It’s just that I’ve got an important Quidditch match coming up soon and I don’t want to strain my arm.”
I flexed my bicep experimentally, her eyes fixed upon it. I can certainly be a charmer when I want to. Megan blushed furiously, smiling broadly.
“Of course, Jimmy,” she said, slightly breathlessly.
I tensed in my chair, my jaw clenched. No one ever calls me Jimmy. I heard Amelie laugh loudly from her bench opposite, her eyes fixed upon mine. I grimaced before removing my arm from Megan’s chair. Her friends were making (obvious) hand gestures towards Megan and giggling profusely. What is with girls and their incessant giggling? I can’t even talk to girl without her bursting into hysterics. It might be (and that means ‘it is obviously’) because I am so astoundingly charming, but it also might be because I’ve got something in my teeth. Apart from Amelie, obviously, but she is a freak that likes Potions. A freak that is partnered with…
What the hell is Charlie Sloper looking at?
Amelie was busy collecting ingredients on the shelf behind their bench and Charlie was checking her out! Don’t get me wrong, Amelie is a pretty girl but it is just damn rude for people to be so disgusting. She is my best friend and I want her dignity to be intact until she finds someone who I feel is suitable, for example some amazingly awesome Quidditch superstar (who could put in a good word for me at the Cannons) or one of my cousins. It wasn’t like I was jealous or harboured some sort of secret desire for Amelie. Nothing like that at all. Never, ever, ever. Well maybe…but no. She was like my sister, an extremely nice-looking sister. Damn it.
I got my wand out of my bag and sneakily hexed him from underneath the table. His hands began to swell to the size of frying pans, his stupid face a perfect picture of shock. Amelie turned and looked straight at me, her green eyes narrowed into a glare. Of course she knew that it was me, because I’d done it once before. And by once, I mean a lot of times. Some time ago, at a Gryffindor Quidditch party, Sid McLaggen was all over her and I decided to intervene before things became a little bit too heated.
Slughorn waddled over to Amelie and Charlie’s bench, his large belly knocking into tables and cauldrons. He inspected Charlie’s hands, sending him to the hospital wing and blaming it on an incorrect potion. Amelie shot eye daggers at me from across the room and stomped over, looking thunderous. Shit, I’m in deep…shit.
“I’m so angry I could kill someone right now,’ she said through gritted teeth, poking me in the chest.
“Bloody hell, Harris, it was just a potion. I’m sure Slughorn isn’t going to mark you down this one time!’ I said optimistically, leading her over to the ingredients store because Megan, who was working diligently, was craftily eavesdropping in on our conversation. She was still making unsubtle gestures to her giggly friends in the corner.
“You know bloody well this is not about the fucking potion!” She shouted, dropping the jar of leeches she was holding. I jumped out of the way (thank god for Quidditch reflexes) before the shitty little bloodsuckers got into my shoes. Bloody hell, Amelie could be scary sometimes.
“Why do you feel the need to protect me all the time?” Amelie shouted, Megan’s group of Ravenclaw friends looking up at her loud voice, ‘I’m not some little girl who needs looking after!”
“He was checking you out! I didn’t want him to take advantage of you!”
Two girls walked passed Amelie and I, obviously wanting to catch some of the ‘hottest gossip’ straight from the horse’s mouth. Amelie tapped her foot impatiently and the girls threw her dirty looks, which she returned. After the girls left, Amelie grabbed my tie and pulled me closer to her, and for a moment I thought she was going to kiss me.
What? I did not just think that. But instead of engaging in a heated match of tonsil tennis, she muttered angrily in my ear.
“If you try to protect me again, I am going to castrate you with my bare hands.”
I gulped. I always underestimate Amelie Harris. Why does no one ever suspect the quiet ones?
Because they’re quiet. Stupid.
Megan Armstrong was still working industriously at our bench, light purple fumes rising from our cauldron. I strolled back towards her, sitting heavily in the chair and running my fingers through my hair. After the ‘catastrophe’ with Charlie Sloper, the dungeon was loud and noisy, people shouting and talking.
“You’re doing a great job, Meg,” I had to whisper in her ear and a blush rose in her cheeks. I gave her the signature Potter smirk and from this close distance I heard her breath quicken. Merlin, I’m good. Amelie walked near our table, hitting me over the head with her elbow and I gasped in pain, rubbing my hand on my head. Amelie gave me a fierce look and I stuck my tongue out at her. She bit back a smile before handing in a sample of her potion.
Looks like I’ll be keeping my privates after all. I can charm my way through anything.
Megan took up our potion vial and returned to our table, cleaning our (and I say ‘our’ quite loosely) ingredients and equipment away. She picked up our cauldron, struggling with the pewter pot.
“Here, let me take that,” I said, winking at her and taking it from her hands. She smiled and walked back towards her friends, who immediately began jumping up and down and clapping their hands excitedly. Megan was whispering hurriedly at them and then they all began giggling.
“They sure do like giggling, those Ravenclaw girls. Personally, I’ve never seen the attraction of being a boy-obsessed girly girl.”
Amelie was standing behind me, her hands on the back of my chair and looking over at the girls.
“It’s because you can’t see the attraction of boys.”
“Oh so you are saying you are attractive?” She remarked, sitting beside me.
“Do you think I am?” Go on, say yes, please. What? James, stop with anarchic thoughts.
She scoffed incredulously. What a booster for my ego.
“Well Megan Armstrong seems to think so,” I answered, waving confidently over at the gaggle of Ravenclaw girls and one of them fainted. Well that has never happened to me before. Ah well, there is a first time for everything. I sighed.
“You are such a wanker...you know that, don’t you?” Amelie questioned, watching as Slughorn bustled through the classroom to send the girl to the hospital wing.
“Hell yes, but you’re still friends with me!”
She shook her head, chuckling softly. The bell rang loudly, echoing throughout the dungeon.
“I’ll see you in the Great Hall, James. I’m going back to the common room,” she said, ruffling my hair fondly. I watched her leave, her long, dark hair swinging slightly as she walked. And then a shifty group of Hufflepuffs pointed at her and I jinxed them, long, white beards protruding from their chins. Yeah, I know what you are thinking, Hufflepuffs are meant to be all loyal and innocent and shit but someone of them are a bit ‘unsubtle’.
I stood up, swinging my bag over my shoulder and making my way over to the classroom door.
“Jimmy, do you want to walk to Charms together, you know, after lunch?” Megan asked, as she flicked her blonde hair over her shoulder, her face reddening.
Why the hell does no one get that I don’t want to be called Jimmy? I stared at Megan, who looked at me expectantly. I ran my hand through my hair, looking down at the small girl.
“Err…sorry but no thanks. And don’t call me Jimmy.”
And she burst into tears, right in front of me. Well, this couldn’t get any more awkward. With Amelie as my best friend, and as she is an iron lady, I’ve never really had to endure any girly emotional stuff. And my sister Lily is only in second year, so she hasn’t had any problems with boyfriends yet (I hope, otherwise there will be serious hexing going on).
All I can say is, thank Merlin for Amelie’s forgetfulness.
“Hey Jimmy, I just forgot my…Megan, are you alright?” She said, immediately wrapping her arm around her shoulder.
“Oh so you’re allowed to call him that!” Megan wailed, shrugging Amelie’s arm off her and running off back to her friends. Amelie glared at me as if I had done something wrong.
“What did you do?”
“I told her not to call me Jimmy and she burst into tears. You know how I can’t deal with all that emotional stuff,” I said obviously.
“You can deal with me,” she pointed out, picking up her forgotten book.
“I don’t ‘deal’ with you,” I answered, “it’s not my fault you have a heart of stone.”
She laughed, linking her arm with mine and steering me out of the dungeon. It was raining outside and I spotted several Herbology students tearing up the hill from the greenhouses, robes pulled up against the storm. Amelie was staring behind us, her neck twisting awkwardly.
“Look! Owen Cauldwell has a beard!”
I froze, unsure of what to say. I’ll have to say goodbye to my privates if I say anything. Act cool, Potter.
“I didn’t do it.”
“What didn’t you do?” She asked.
“Err…nothing,” I prevaricated, stuffing my hands in my pockets. I’m so smooth.
“I am very flattered, James, but sometimes you’ve got to let me fight my own battles,” Amelie said pleadingly, turning back around and placing both of her hands on my shoulders. She looked very pretty today, her green eyes bright.
She’s like my sister, a very attractive sister who I might like to kiss one day.
That’s incest. That’s disgusting. And illegal.
OK maybe I’ll just scrap the whole sister idea and keep thinking of her as my best friend. And people are allowed to kiss their best friends, aren’t they? Damn it, she looks hot in her school uniform. And that is an achievement because even Victoire didn’t look nice in hers, and she is quarter-Veela.
“Sure,” I muttered distractedly. I find my best friend hot. Oh my god, crisis. OK, that sounded really girly. And I’m not a girl, because I play manly Quidditch, have chest hair and think girls are hot. Girls like my best friend.
Queue is super slow at the moment but here you go. Hope you enjoyed it, I had lots of fun writing it.
The box below gets a bit lonely sometimes. (That's a hint, btw).