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Chapter 1: Potions Mishaps
“....And then you must stir the brew counterclockwise for forty-six seconds and then clockwise for an additional twenty-two seconds.....” droned Professor Slughorn, his words appearing in an untidy scrawl on the board behind him. He paused only for a brief moment upon hearing a dull ‘thud’ before continuing with his instruction.
The head of dark, unruly hair collided with the bench once more, causing more than a few heads to turn. Not even attempting to look sheepish, James Potter gave a loud sigh as the board erased itself for the umpteenth time for more instructions. He sat up and glanced over at his best friend, Sirius Black, wondering if he was just as bored.
Sirius was also bored out of his mind but wouldn’t lower himself to being a public nuisance just yet. Having pulled out a loose sheet of parchment, he was doodling what he thought N.E.W.T.s level Potions was supposed to be like. So far, he had a pretty accurate picture of Slughorn, sitting in the corner eating crystallized pineapple, and a giant caldron of goo. Grinning at his masterpiece, Sirius carefully slid his work over the table to James for evaluation.
With a smirk, James picked up his quill and started to draw some additions, much to Sirius’s horror. He had just about captured the obscene largeness of Severus Snape’s nose when he felt someone watching him. Glancing up, he caught the eye of Lily Evans, glaring at him from a few seats down. James grinned cheekily before blowing her a kiss, causing her to roll her eyes and face forward once more.
With a swift rap on the board, Slughorn beamed at his class. “All right then. Now that we have our instructions, let’s begin!” He set his own cauldron fire alight before settling down behind his desk. “One from each pair can go and find the necessary ingredients in the back of the room.”
Knowing Sirius would be a useless lump until his picture was complete, James made his way towards the back to get what they needed. As he measured out his snakeweed, he became aware of Lily tapping her foot impatiently behind him. “Did you need something?”
“Yes, actually. I’d like to start my potion sometime this week.”
“What a coincidence, I’d like to go on a date with you sometime this week. Why don’t we make both of our wishes come true?” James replied, glancing over his shoulder for her reaction.
Before she could reply, Lily was suddenly pushed into his back as Snape zipped on by. He could have controlled himself if not for the harsh whisper and sudden fury that filled Lily’s eyes. James quickly held his wand in hand but Snape was falling forward into the storage closet before he could do anything. Instead, he flicked his wand as Snape collapsed inside, causing the door to snap shut. His eyes went around the room before landing on Sirius, who was waving his wand in greeting. Then he found himself meeting Slughorn’s stern gaze.
“Boys, this is the third time this week,” he said with a sigh. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to give you two detention.” Slughorn walked over and patted Sirius on the shoulder, who had dropped his head down on the table this time. “There, there, lad. It’ll be alright.” Glancing down, he suddenly began to smile. “What a nice drawing.”
“It’s just how I imagined it!” Sirius exclaimed merrily as he entered the potions classroom. In the center of the room sat a cauldron of bubbling brew and a empty packaging for crystallized pineapple laying on Slughorn’s desk. He turned to James and said, “We should get detention more often.”
James sighed as he entered the classroom, going over to peer into the cauldron. “No, we shouldn’t,” he moaned, which almost caused Sirius to knock over a suspicious looking jar on Slughorn’s desk. “We play Slytherin in two days! I wanted to call practice tonight, not get stuck in the dungeons for two hours.”
Sirius was about to protest but thought better of it, slouching down in a nearby chair. He may be a slacker but he hated the prospect of not being prepared for a quidditch match, especially one against Slytherin. “Well, it is a detention with the old Slug,” he pointed out. “With the two of us, we could probably get out of detention within the first five minutes.” He grinned and sat up straighter in his chair at the sound of approaching footsteps in the corridor.
Reaching up to ruffle his hair, James leaned against the table and put on his most charming smile. Sirius had a point, for once. All they had to do was agree to go to one of his little parties and maybe offer to get him some of that wine he likes and they’d be home free. He sent a wink Sirius’s way before looking back to see Professor.... “Bugger.”
The one and only Lily Evans stood in the doorway, hands on her hips and eyes filled with suspicion. “Bugger what, Potter?” she questioned, stepping inside and slamming the door shut, locking it with a wave of her wand.
Quickly recovering, a grin slid upon James’s face as he stood up straighter. “Nothing, my sweet flower,” he replied smoothly. “What brings you to the dungeons this fine evening?” He saw Sirius pretending to gag out of the corner of his eye and it took all he had not to respond.
“Unfortunately, Professor Slughorn has asked me to look after you two while he attends to some personal matters,” said Lily with a sigh. She set about preparing herself a cauldron for a little potions practice. “So it’ll be cauldron detailing for you blokes tonight.”
“Can we get out early if we get them all?” Sirius asked boldly. If they hurried, there was still a chance for quidditch practice.
Lily offered him a smile. “But of course. It’s only fair.”
Both James and Sirius grinned, quickly whipping out their wands. Between the two of them, they would be done in minutes. Their triumphant looks were soon those of horror as their wands flew out of their grasp and straight into Lily’s open palm.
“Did I mention that he wanted them done by hand?” Pocketing their wands, she cooly went about gathering her ingredients and the beginnings of the potion she had started the day before, ignoring their looks of outrage.
“By hand!? Blimey, Evans, that’ll take ages!”
Adding powdered snake fang to the brew, Lily was pleased to find that the potion had turned a pale gold. “You should have thought about that before you sent that tripping jinx at Severus today,” she told them with a shrug.
Sirius rolled his eyes. “How were we supposed to know that clumsy git would knock down everything in the supply closet? Admittedly, he probably couldn’t see with that beak of his in the way.”
Lily shot him a cold look. “I believe you’re here to scrub cauldrons, Black. I suggest you get to it.”
With a sigh, James began to bring all the cauldrons to the back. After that last comment, there was no way they were getting out of anything. “Let’s go, Padfoot.”
Sirius mumbled something under his breath but started to gather the cauldrons as well. He hated not having the last word in an argument. The faster they finished, the faster they could leave. So he decided he would busy his mind in plotting a possible mishap that might befall Miss Evans in the next few days.
Luckily, cauldron cleaning was his mum’s punishment of choice whenever James had misbehaved as a child. It was on days like this when he was ever so grateful for being a mischievous child. This kind of thing no longer bothered him and he found himself quite quick. He set to cleaning the first while Sirius gathered the last of the bunch on the desk next to Lily’s. After a minute or two, the cauldron was gleaming. He picked it up to bring back to it’s position in the front of the room. “Hey Evans, how does this look?”
Lily turned in time to see James trip over a cauldron that had been left on the floor. The one he carried flew from his hands, heading straight for the table holding her potion.She pulled out her wand to stop it but it was too late.
The cauldron hit the table with a bang, causing the potion to tip over onto all her left over ingredients. Upon contact, the room exploded with a blinding light and a resounding crack. Then they were all plunged into darkness.
*A/N: If you're reading this, thanks for finishing the chapter. I haven't been on here in a while and starting a story seemed to be much better than studying for finals. This story is loosely based on 'Conjoining Generations', a story I started with a friend of mine years ago. We lost touch and I forgot the account password so it sits unfinished. It's always bothered me so this is my answer. A new story with new ideas in honor of the old. And as always, any characters or other ideas you recognise are J.K. Rowling's. Anything unfamiliar is all me. Cheers!*