Chapter 6 : Skiving School and Preposterous Potions
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New character, Sabrina Maze. She probably won't be called that very often, though.
"Alena? What are you doing down here?"
"What?" I groaned, slowly opening my eyes to see what kind of person would wake me up when I was peacefully sleeping. I mean, rude!
It was Val, which made me a bit frustrated because I wasted my time looking for her last night, and now she was just standing there all calm. Well.
I rubbed my eyes to make sure it was her. "Val? How did you get here?"
She stared at me, puzzled. "Actually, the question is, how did you get here?"
Slowly, I scanned our surroundings, realizing that I was in the Gryffindor Common Room. "Why was I...sleeping here?"
"I don't know. I just came downstairs and saw you sleeping," explained Val patiently.
"Oh. Well, um, I don't know how I could have...gotten here," I said, furrowing my brows in confusion.
"Do you remember what happened last night?"
I frowned in thought. Slowly, the details returned to me.
"I remember falling asleep in a corridor, but...uh, I don't know how I got here," I said slowly, trying to figure it out.
"Well, maybe -"
"Floating! I was, um, floating!" I exclaimed, cutting Val off. I vaguely remembered waking up in midair, but as I was way too tired to even begin to wonder why I was even in midair, I had fallen right back asleep.
Val stared at me as if I had gone loopy (which probably wasn't too far off of a conclusion) and pinched me.
"Ow! What was that for?" I yelped, rubbing the now sore spot.
"I was just making sure I wasn't having a dream or something," she admitted.
I gave her a disgruntled look. "Shouldn't you, er, pinch yourself for that?"
She shrugged dismissively. "Oh well." Not oh well. I'm the one who got hurt. Ouchie.
Now fully awake, I got up off the couch and started toward the stairs.
"Hey, Alena," said Val. "Floating?" She was biting her lip so a laugh wouldn't be released, but she couldn't stop her mouth from twitching into a smile. I ignored her and continued on my way.
Obviously, Confucius was correct with his quote, "Silence is the true friend that never betrays." At least silence doesn't betray me by secretly laughing. Hmph.
"So, um, when did Val...come back last night?" I asked Rose at breakfast. Dom was...somewhere and Val was still in the Common Room, finishing up an entry in her dream journal for Divination.
"I'm not sure. I was asleep, and by the time I woke up this morning, she was already down in the Common Room where she found you. Why were you down there, anyway?" questioned Rose curiously.
"I...I don't know," I replied quietly.
Rose frowned at me in concern, but seemed to deem my response acceptable. "Okay. Well, have some toast."
I don't like toast, though.
She dropped it on my plate and began to butter it for me. Merlin, Rose, I'm not a child.
Finally, she finished buttering it and began eating her own breakfast. I stared down at the plate and poked the toast. It was burnt. Ew.
"Um...I'm not really hungry. I think I'm going to go...to class and, uh, stuff."
The redhead mumbled something back, but I couldn't really understand what she was saying because of the food in her mouth, so I edged away backwards slowly and smiled at her weakly.
Since I was walking backwards, I couldn't really see behind me and when I bumped into someone, I immediately jumped forward.
"Uh, I'm s - sorry! I wasn't watching-" I stopped talking as soon as I saw who it was. Bloody Potter, sneaking around as usual.
Okay, so he probably came to eat breakfast. Pfftt.
Potter cleared his throat awkwardly and nodded at me with a tight smile. "It's alright."
What's his problem?
"Alright, today we will be making the potion Amortentia, which I introduced last class," said Slughorn, smiling happily as always. His face was covered in laugh lines and wrinkles, his chin wobbling as he talked.
Rose and I were sitting together, hoping he would let us choose our own partners today. No such luck.
"I will be choosing your partners today. The instructions are on page 104 of your textbooks. You will all receive a sample of a successful Amortentia potion at the end of class, which, for homework, you will have to smell and record your results. When I call your name, move to where your partner is seated. Hough and Walters. Thomas and Carlton. Weasley and Jolie. Pepper and Dawn. Lovegood and Vine. Reed and Maze..." As soon as I heard my name, I groaned inwardly. I was with Sabrina Maze.
Actually, I had sort of forgotten her last name up until now. She had always been Sabrina The Slag (or STS) to me.
"Hello, Reed. Fancy seeing you here," I heard a husky voice say. Merlin, she didn't have to talk as if she was trying to seduce me.
"Er, yes, fancy that. Me, being...here. In...Potions class," I replied meekly. STS rolled her eyes at me and pulled her skirt up even higher.
I'm sure it's quite high enough, Slag.
"Right. Let's just get started already. Go get the ingredients." Someone's a little bit bossy.
I nodded obediently and went to get the ingredients while STS, instead of setting up the cauldron like she should have been doing, decided to occupy herself by flirting with Kyle Hough at the table behind ours.
Rose was getting her ingredients as well, while throwing a glare behind her shoulder every so often. "Stupid Jolie. She didn't even talk to me. She just glared at me like she was sending me some kind of fucking telepathic message to get the ingredients."
Olivia Jolie, best friend of The Slag, was almost as bad as her friend. The only difference was that she was more discreet about her, pardon my language, "skankiness".
"Well, um, at least you don't have to be with...uh, Sabrina," I whispered. Who knows if The Slag has super sensitive hearing or something? Maybe she can smell criticism from miles away. I'm just trying to play it safe here.
Rose snorted in agreement. "You're right. I would probably end up pulling out her hair. Or, better yet, making it disappear with magic. Wouldn't it just be delightful to see those blonde tresses replaced by pure shiny scalp?" She cackled evilly at the thought.
I backed away slowly from my seemingly mental friend and made my way back to our table. Even though I was struggling with the ingredients, The Slag just sat there and stared at me with a raised eyebrow. Great help, thanks.
"Put the ingredients down. Maybe then you won't be, like, falling all over the place." Oh, good idea, genius. Perhaps if you helped me, I could do that. Merlin knows how the girl got into Ravenclaw. Eventually, I got all the ingredients on the table (with no help from STS, of course).
"So, Reed. I saw you talking to James this morning. You know, at breakfast? I didn't know you were on friendly terms," Sabrina said casually, pretending to examine her nails. She was obviously very interested in hearing about this, no matter how hard she tried to play it cool.
I began chopping ginger roots for the potion, trying to avoid answering. When I looked up, The Slag was staring at me sharply, awaiting a reply. "Uh, well. His brother and...his two cousins are my friends and...my brother is his friend so...we have to, er, interact. Sometimes," I said awkwardly.
Sabrina gave me a fake smile and patted my hand. "I don't want to see you talking to him again, okay? We're totally dating again and I don't want any girls who aren't related to him to be around him. Don't take it personally." She and Potter had had an on again/off again relationship since fourth year. They would cheat on each other, break up, she would seduce him with her...skills, they would get back together. It was a never ending cycle.
I gave her a nervous smile. "Um, okay?"
The Slag's (fake) smile grew wider. "Great. This potion that we're making, it seems to be very useful, don't you think?" Yes, because liquid infatuation is what everyone needs. Everyone's hopes and dreams come true when they get a load of that stuff. For sure.
"Well...uh, I suppose," I replied unconvincingly. STS nodded at me and turned around in her seat to continue flirting with Kyle Hough. Wonderful.
After I had finished preparing the ingredients to go into the cauldron, I dropped them in randomly. The book said to drop them in at certain times, but I kept getting impatient and just throwing them in. Needless to say, the concoction had turned green instead of the light pink it was supposed to turn by the time I was almost done.
The Slag turned back round at this point and flipped her hair. "Well, I suppose we should start the potion now."
"Well, actually, it's...sort of, uh, almost finished."
Sabrina pouted and applied a layer of lipgloss, which just exaggerated the look. "Oh, no," she simpered. "That's terrible. I'm so sorry for not helping." Pfftt. She didn't look very sorry. In fact, she still just looked pouty.
Or maybe that's just her face.
"Oh, it's alright, um...I suppose," I said quietly. "You can still, er, help...if you want." In actuality, I really didn't want her help. Yeah, so she was a Ravenclaw. At this point, I wasn't too sure about the Sorting Hat's skills.
"Well, since you already did most of it, I think you should probably finish it now. It wasn't completely my fault. Honestly, I think it was a bit rude of you to just do the whole thing without even informing me. Now I feel like I did nothing productive," said The Slag in exasperation. I was pretty sure she didn't give two shits about making the potion. Not even one shit. Not even half a shit. Not even a quarter of a shit. Not even -
Okay, I'll stop.
To be honest though, I was scared to say no to STS. She terrified me a little bit.
"Um. I guess...I'll finish it. Er, by myself," I said reluctantly. Sabrina gave me another forced smile, and I noticed that her teeth were incredibly white. Not that I was jealous or anything. I mean, who wants white teeth? Gross.
She pulled out a compact and gazed at herself in the small mirror.
It appeared that The Slag was under the misconception that I was actually good at Potions. Otherwise, she most definitely would not have let me near the cauldron. She didn't settle for bad marks, which was probably the only Ravenclaw quality about her, as far as I had seen. However, she was so distracted with flirting and staring at her reflection that she hadn't even noticed the gross colour our potion had turned. I was just been randomly stirring it because the stirring instructions were bloody confusing. Counter-clockwise stir twice, clockwise stir four times, then counter-clockwise stir two more times. What the hell?
I glanced over at Rose's table, only to see her arguing with Jolie. No help there. Which sort of sucked because Rose was aactually good at Potions. Better than me, anyway.
"Reed, are you done yet?" whined STS. She had put away her compact and was trying to peer into the potion. Quickly, I pushed it away from her sight and grimaced.
"Um, yes, I'm almost...done." I didn't say it was going to be done properly, right? Right.
The Slag eyed me suspiciously but let it go, scanning the room to see how other people's potions were turning out. Better than ours, no doubt.
"Is it light pink yet?" she asked, turning back to me.
I grimaced slightly. "Uh, oh yeah. Lightest pink you'll, um, ever saw. I mean, see. Lightest pink you'll ever...see." I'm an amazing liar, obviously.
"Can I just see it?" She was getting impatient. I had to think fast.
"Er, look, it's a...hippogriff!" I exclaimed, widening my eyes for extra effect. Did I mention that I'm an amazing actress?
The Slag turned to look. Because hippogriffs wander into classrooms all the time.
"Evanesco," I muttered, pointing my wand above the cauldron. Instantly, the disgusting mess I had created vanished. Who's pro? Yeah, me. Just not in Potions, evidently.
"There's no hippogriff, Reed. The potion fumes must be causing you to hallucinate," said Sabrina, sneering at me. Unfortunately, she still managed to look elegant. How she achieved that, I had no idea.
"Oh, um, yeah, I suppose you're right," I replied, smiling innocently. Secretly, I was gritting my teeth in annoyance. Grrr.
"Can I look at the potion now? I want to at least see it before we hand it in." Oh, you can see it. You can look at it all you want, STS.
"Uh...go for it. I guess."
She peered into the cauldron and screamed.
The whole class began gathering around our table to gape at us. Attention wasn't something I dealt well with.
"Alena," hissed Rose. "Why are you ducking under the table?"
I looked up from under the table and smiled weakly. Everyone was now staring at me while The Slag was still looking into the cauldron angrily. "Uh, well. I was just...looking. For our...potion. It, um, fell."
They all gave me looks of extreme disbelief. Well, I thought it was a great excuse.
"Miss Reed, may I ask why your potion seems to have disappeared?" asked Professor Slughorn sternly, finally noticing all the commotion.
I laughed nervously. "Um, it...a hippogriff drank it. It just, er, swooped in and drank all of it."
Slughorn furrowed his brows at me in confusion. "I'm quite sure that hippogriffs cannot come into classrooms, Miss Reed."
"Yeah, but this was an, um, invisible...hippogriff."
"An invisible hippogriff?"
"Uh. Yes?" My nails were about to reach my mouth any second now.
"Hm. I'll have to read about that. Invisible hippogriffs," muttered Slughorn to himself. Dom was right. He was barmy.
After Professor Slughorn had ushered everyone back to their seats, I was left alone with Sabrina and her death glare. It was not a pretty sight.
Okay, so maybe it was. Whatever. Looks aren't everything.
"Reed, I don't know what you did to our potion, but it could lose us a lot of marks. I might not do work, but I need good marks. If you've mucked this up for me, I will ruin you," she threatened. She looked really scary, so I squeaked a little. Just a little, though. No big deal.
"Alena, you look frightened. What's wrong?" Val was questioning me as we walked to Defense Against the Dark Arts.
"Frightened? Uh, I'm not...frightened," I whispered, my eyes on the look-out for a certain Ravenclaw. Not that I was intimidated or anything. It probably looked like I was a mental patient that just escaped from St. Mungo's. Maybe I am. You know nothing.
"Right. So, where are Dom and Rose?" asked Val, glancing around as if they were going to pop out suddenly.
"Er, Rose is already in class and Dom...I don't know where she is."
"She's not skipping again, is she?"
"Yeah...but um, this time it's for more...personal reasons."
Val stopped and stared at me in confusion. "Personal?"
I looked at the ground as I replied, "Yes. You know how, uh, our new DADA professor is Teddy Lupin? Dom's sister...is his, um, fiancee."
"Isn't that a good thing? Doesn't Dom like him?"
"I guess you could say that, um...she likes him a bit, er, too much."
Val's eyes widened in realization. "Oh. I see."
Dom had always had a bit of a crush on dear old Teddy. I didn't think it was anything major, but she tried to avoid seeing him most of the time. She was in denial and thought that as long as she didn't have to see him, she could pretend her crush didn't exist. Victoire, her sister, and Teddy himself seemed to be oblivious. Which I found ridiculous because everyone else in the family was well aware. Even Rose's brother, Hugo, who was clueless more than half the time. However, Dom couldn't really avoid her secret crush this year, even though she had already skived off every class of his so far. Teddy had taken a year off his Auror training due to an injury inflicted upon his leg though, so he was going to be here a while.
As we entered the lively classroom, I spotted Rose using her finger to make a cutting motion across her neck and then pointing frantically at Scorpius, who was sitting beside her for some reason. This would be interesting and slightly awkward, I could tell.
Because, you know, I'm good with awkwardness. Yeah.
"Rose? What are you doing?" Val inquired in confusion. She wasn't used to Rose's (not) amusing antics.
Cautiously, Rose glanced at Scorpius, who was staring straight ahead, and stood up. The class hadn't started yet, but it would in a few minutes.
"Where's Dom?" she whispered sharply. "If she doesn't come in two minutes, I will personally hunt her down and strangle her scrawny little neck, no matter how mad James will get at me for killing one of his Chaser's."
"Actually, she's not coming, Rose," said Val quietly, biting her lip nervously. I would be nervous too. No one wants to face the wrath of an angry Weasley woman.
"What do you mean she's not coming?" Rose asked dangerously. Her face was turning a lovely shade of red. And by lovely, I mean not lovely at all.
"Uh, well...sh - she's having minor difficulties with, um, her trousers," I mumbled, attempting to save Dom's neck.
The red-faced girl raised an eyebrow at me in disbelief. "Really? Because last time I checked, girl's uniforms at Hogwarts consisted of skirts, not trousers."
"Oh, uh, she's a boy now. Um...gender change. Surprise?"
Both Val and Rose were staring at me incredulously. Why is that so hard to believe? Am I missing something here?
"Um. Okay, Alena. Anyway, one of you needs to sit with me. Malfoy just came and sat beside me without even asking. He didn't even say anything. Now Anna keeps glaring at me because he's sitting with me, and frankly, I'm getting a bit scared. So I need one of you as an excuse to get him out of there. Please?" said Rose hurriedly, glancing anxiously over her shoulder at Scorpius, who was leaning back comfortably in his seat.
Val glanced around the room. "Where's Al? Why isn't Scorpius sitting with him?"
"He's sitting with Laura," Rose grumbled. "In the back, over there." We looked and, sure enough, Al was chilling in the back, flirting up a storm with Laura Longbottom. Val didn't seem to look very happy after she spotted them. Actually, she looked a little bit frowny.
Let's turn that frown upside down. Like a clown. In a...gown?
"Ladies, would you like to find your own seats or shall I find them for you?" An amused Teddy Lupin was standing in front of the class with his arms crossed across his (very defined) chest.
"Look, Teddy -"
"It's Professor Lupin, Miss Weasley," he cut Rose off smoothly, attempting to hide a smile. Rose huffed in indignation. "Why don't you take a seat beside Mister Malfoy?" Scowling deeply, the redhead walked back to where she had originally been sitting. Scorpius still hadn't moved an inch. Val and I exchanged glances knowingly and sat down at the table beside Rose and Scorpius'.
Teddy grinned at the class. "Alright, now that everyone has been seated, we can begin. Today, I'm going to be testing your ability on nonverbal spells, which I taught you how to perform last week. Your partner will be the person sitting beside you. Move the desks out of the way and practice the spell 'Levicorpus.' Remember, this is nonverbal. I don't want to see anyone mumbling under their breath or anything of that sort. Just try your best. I would like to see what your skill level is."
We all grumbled over the difficulty of nonverbal spells as we pushed the tables out of the way. Val and I faced each other nervously.
"Do you have any idea how to do this?" Val inquired uneasily. She was probably afraid of my incredible nonverbal skills. Not that I had many. Or any. At all.
"Er, no, not...really."
"We just sort of concentrate on what we want to do. At least, I think we do."
"Um, okay. Do you...want to go first?" I asked, hoping she would agree. I mean, I didn't want to overwhelm everyone with my superior skills right from the start.
Val gave a slight nod in my direction and squeezed her eyes shut tightly, holding up her wand and pointing it at me. When nothing happened after a moment or two, she opened her eyes and frowned. "I don't understand, I was concentrating as hard as I could. Actually, my head was sort of starting to hurt. Maybe that means it was working! Let me try again."
Once again, she began to close her eyes. However, I stopped her this time because I was sort of scared she was going to end up squeezing her eyes until they popped or something. "Uh, maybe I should try. You know, so you can...um, relax your head a bit."
"Alright. Give it a go, then."
I held my wand in my hand gingerly and raised it slowly to where Val was standing. Usually, I wasn't all that great with DADA as I wasn't that great at defending myself, whether it was against the Dark Arts, or not.
Levicorpus, Levicorpus, Levicorpus.
A minute or two of me focusing resulted in a small spark being released from my wand, but not much else. I dropped my arm dejectedly and sighed. "Well, I suppose...we're just not, er, any good at this." Val nodded in agreement and we both sat back to watch everyone else try, being too lazy to try more than once ourselves.
Al and Laura didn't seem very interested in performing the spell, as they were continuing their elaborate flirting from before. Rose and Scorpius were just standing there, not facing one another. Rose had her arms crossed and was glaring at her shoes, while Scorpius was staring into space. If I hadn't spotted him glancing at Rose every few minutes, I would have suspected him to be sleeping with his eyes open or something. Anna and her partner, a frighteningly beautiful Slytherin girl, were both glaring at each other with their wands raised. They seemed to be making more progress than anyone else, so I let my gaze rest on them for a while. After a few moments of more glaring, the Slytherin was raised into the air slowly by her ankle, while Anna furrowed her brows in deep concentration. Teddy immediately raced toward them and grinned at Anna. Why do good things always happen to bad people? Merlin, I knew I shouldn't have given up. It could've been me who Teddy was smiling at. His dimples are something to marvel at.
"Now this, class, is a great example of a successful nonverbal spell! Great work, Miss..." Teddy trailed off, not knowing Anna's name.
Anna batted her eyelashes at him rapidly. I wondered if she was having some severe eye twitching issues and if we would have to take her to St. Mungo's. Personally, I would like it if she had to stay there for a few days. Or weeks. Months, preferably. "Wood. Anna Wood." There it was. Her last name. Dom absolutely hated it when she was reminded of her last name, because she practically idolized her father, Oliver Wood. He was the ex-Keeper for Puddlemere United, Dom's favourite Quidditch team. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on the way you looked at it), Anna had inherited her father's talent for Quidditch.
"Oh. Wow. Miss Wood, great work!" exclaimed Teddy, getting over the shock that he was teaching the great Oliver Wood's daughter. Anna smiled at him smugly. Cocky little bitch.
"You know, I never really liked her," Val said quietly from beside me. That was a bit of surprise. Val didn't not like people. Well, I supposed she didn't really like Fred after the little incident that had happened in the corridor.
"Um, me neither. So, uh...where did you go? You know, er, after the Fred...thing," I finished lamely. Val avoided my eyes and hid behind her hair.
"I just...I'm not used to blokes giving me attention. At all. It was just so overwhelming for me, I suppose. I've never even really talked to a boy before. After the thing with Fred, I went into a broom closet for a while. That may sound weird, but I just wanted to be alone. Too much socialization, especially with blokes, scares me." She shook her head in apparent disgust at herself. "Merlin, I'm such a coward." I sort of understood what Val was getting at. Socialization wasn't exactly my thing either and I thought I was a coward all the time. However, the truth was, Val wasn't a coward. Before Rose, Dom and I became friends with her, she wasn't afraid to be alone. She wasn't afraid of what people thought of her just because she didn't have any friends. That was more than I could say for most of the people at Hogwarts.
Bravery could be displayed in more way than one. Valerie was living proof of that.
A/N: Yeah, I know, I'm poopy. This chapter came out after a whole month almost, and it's not very good or very long at all. Sorrysorrysorry. I'm just a really lazy writer. Actually, I'm lazy with everything, so this was expected, really. You guys don't deserve that though. I'll attempt to write faster next time. There's just school, and friends, and stupid teenage mood swings that I have, and it's all just a big ball of gross.
I hope you enjoyed it anyway. Let me know what you think of me, or my characters, or my plot (though there isn't much of one, is there?). Even tell me my writing's shitty. I don't care, just tell me something. You know what? You can even tell me what your favourite colour is. I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW. Reviews make me want to puke out rainbows, and everybody loves rainbows. So reviews = rainbows from my mouth. Yay?
Oh, and thank you to EVERYONE who favourited and/or reviewed. I love you. A lot. Seriously. LOVE
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