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Chapter 5: It's Only Words
It was the third or fourth potions class of the school year and Harry was already in trouble with Professor Snape who took every minor incident to deduct house points or even give detentions. Harry had resolved to put in more effort and take even more care but this policy was not having much success so far.
"For your next test you will be given the name of a potion you should already have thoroughly learned and you will be asked to give an instruction to the class." Snape was magically despatching papers to each class member as he spoke. "Each student will have a different potion as shown on the test sheet you are now receiving."
There were groans as pupils realized they would have to address the entire class and their usual workarounds and cheats would not avail them here.
"Not many of you will go on to receive teacher training but before you leave this school you should be able to at least give a simple presentation to an examining body." Snape continued.
"I'm dead." Harry said to Ron above the general groans and sounds of complaint. "I'm hopeless on giving talks - especially on a subject I'm not confident in."
"Me too." whispered Ron. "Unfortunately I'll be ill on that day. It's very sad."
"What day is it?"
"Quiet Potter! I shan't tell you again." Snape's voice level was raised a notch.
Harry stopped talking and thought to himself, "Good. I'm really pleased you won't be telling me again."
Hermione silently mouthed, "Wednesday ... Better ... prepare."
"Wednesday! That's only six days." mouthed Harry, raising six fingers and pulling a face.
"What you got?" Ron whispered to Hermione.
"Leblianka. Reasonably ... straightforward. Need ... refresher in ... library." mouthed Hermione. "You?"
"Fallow Doubt. Actually I remember that now." Ron was whispering and almost inaudible under cover of Snape's on-going announcements.
Ron continued, "Only three ingredients and the trick is all in the stirring. I had to repeat it lots of times before I got it right then I realized each rotation doubles the other way. Easy-smeasy. Maybe I won't be ill after all."
"Swaps?" queried Harry, hopefully.
"Not unless you've got a cup of tea." joked Ron.
"Corbin's Revenge, whatever that is." replied Harry, still hopeful.
"That's the lesson you missed last year. You were..." Hermione was interrupted.
"Snape knew that. He knew I was absent. Do you think he keeps notes or something of how to trap Harry Potter?" complained Harry.
"It's only medium difficult and..." again Hermione was interrupted.
"To you maybe. That means it's horrendously complicated then. I'm dead." Harry sank lower into himself. "I hate having to give a speech anyway but at least with the DA it was mostly active and conversational once we got going and I really knew what I was talking about. I'll work from notes. I just can't imagine standing up there like a total idiot trying to explain how to..."
Snape continued in a loud voice. "No prompt cards or papers of any kind will be allowed during your presentations of course. Students are expected to convey the entire description from memory."
"Aaaah!" a long drawn out very audible sigh escaped Harry.
"Detention Potter! Don't say I didn't warn you. You've been chuntering away all morning. I am neither blind nor deaf. Let's see now. You have accumulated four nights of detention to complete. Soon there won't be enough days in a week. I think we had better start the tests with you first. If we leave it much longer you'll be spending so much time in detention you won't have time for classes at all."