Chapter 34 : Work Break
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Slughorn gazed into the cauldron with intense interest. Emily stood by his side, her hair once again straight and normal. Her arms were crossed and her eyes were watching her Head of House. They stood in Slughorn's office, the cauldron on his desk between them. It was filled with a lilac colored potion that gave off a flowery smell. It was her hair potion.
Slughorn had requested that she meet him in his office after breakfast on the first weekend after she was released of Madam Pomfrey's care and asked Emily to make the potion for him. He wanted her to show him how the potion was made and its properties. The finished result was between them, the potions recipe and many empty vials on the desk as well.
Emily glanced away from the potion and her Professor and looked around his office. The three armchairs, the two in front and one behind his desk, were pushed back to give the two room. Numerous pictures of Slughorn with many famous people and awards were hung on the wall behind Slughorn's desk. Bookshelves covered the wall to her left and a door to his storage closet was to her right. There were a few tables that adorned cauldrons and potions supplies, and the wall above it was decorated with pictures on it of Slughorn and his prized students, his Slug clubs. Each photo captured a moment in time. From the beginning, when Slughorn was looking a little younger and had a little more hair on his head, to one that reflected ones closer to Emily's time.
Emily left Slughorn to continue with his observing of the hair potion she'd created to get a closer look at the photo. Emily walked along the line of photos, occasionally pausing to look at certain people, before stopping at the last, the one that had her in it.
She and the rest of the Slug club were in Slughorn's office, the placement of all the pictures, seated in a semicircle of armchairs. The large professor was seated in the middle, Lucius Malfoy on his right and Lily Evans on his left. Malfoy was in his seventh year at the time and Evans was in her third year.
The Emily in the picture was sitting at the end to the right and was smiling pleasantly, her head bowed slightly. Looking closer Emily saw that she was wearing her thick hair in a bun, which made it look less uncontrollable. When she was younger and she had less resources of managing her hair she either wore it in buns and ponytails or wore a hat.
She was the youngest in the Slug club at that time: a second year. And she had only gotten invited because she was a Potter in Slytherin and did exceedingly well in his class.
Sighing, Emily stepped away from the picture and turned her attention back to Slughorn. He was holding a vial full of the potion above him and gazing at it as the light shined onto it. He was mumbling to himself, but looked pleasantly surprised and pleased.
"Emily, I must say, I don't think I've ever had a student invent such a fine potion on their own. You've created something I've never seen before or even had a thought to create." Slughorn praised.
"Well I doubt you ever had a reason to create a potion for control unmanageable hair, sir." Emily replied.
Slughorn chuckled and set the vial down. "Yes, I suppose you're right."
"But really professor," Emily continued, returning to her previous spot. She picked up the vial and looked at it as Slughorn had done. "It wasn't really that hard a potion to create. I just did as you taught me. Finding the ultimate goal of the potion and finding ingredients that harness properties that reflect that goal and finding a way to balance them all out in a precise order and mixture."
Slughorn beamed with pride. "Don't be so modest Emily! You should be proud of your talents."
"I am proud." She returned, turning the vial in the light. "I just think inventing comes easily to me. It's one thing to learn about how things are made, but it's quite another to make it yourself. Spells and potions made by another can never be the same as the one made by its creator. When someone else makes a potion, there is always something different and not as similar as the one made by its inventor. And a spell will never contain the same passion and feeling behind it as when it was first cast."
"Are you saying you've invented other things?" Slughorn asked shocked.
Emily hesitated and took a moment to set the vial back down. "Yes," she said slowly. "I've made a couple of spells. Some curses and a couple charms. Like with potions, I became so intrigued that I decided to research a little more than the rest of my classmates and make spells that could aide me in the future." She shrugged. "I sometimes felt that it was a waste of our education to only be learning other people's work. That students should also be taught to make spells and potions for themselves."
"Well said Emily, well said!" Slughorn praised. "I've told Dumbledore that students need more ambition in their learning. Told him, 'that's why my Slytherins exceed expectations so.' and you've proved me right on that one, my dear girl. But he won't listen to me, no, I'll just have to show him."
Emily humored him with a smile and a nod. "Right, sir."
"Could you demonstrate one of your spells for me, I'd like very much to see?" He asked eagerly.
"Well, sir, I really have to be going. I have a lot of studying and make-up work to do and I'm still so far behind in the curriculum…"
"Come now Emily, I'm sure you could spare one more minute." He urged, smiling amusedly. "Besides, I'm sure that you were already weeks ahead of the rest of your classmates before your…accident."
"But Regulus is waiting, sir."
"What's a few minutes going to hurt? I'm sure Mr. Black will still be waiting afterwards."
Emily sighed in defeat and drew her wand. She swished it and tapped her head in a jerking motion. "Effingo!"
Emily closed her eyes as she was surrounded by a blue light and Slughorn watched, amazed, as one became two. Identical Emilys stood side by side, wearing the exact same expressions, wearing the exact same clothes, and each holding a matching wand. Both opened their eyes and smiled at Slughorn.
"Wonderful, Emily!" He crowed. "Simply amazing."
"Thank you, Professor Slughorn." They chorused.
He peered at the copy's wand and pointed it out. "Is it functional?"
Emily shook her head. "No, it's basically powerless. It's just a copy of me and can't perform magic. It would basically only be used as a stand in for the caster. Everything it learns, the caster will learn. So it's a perfect stand in if you don't want to go to class one day or are sick or want to do two things at once."
"So it responds exactly as a human does?" He asked.
Emily nodded. "Mhmm."
"And how long is it able to be maintained?"
"Depends on how strong the caster is. The stronger the magic and stamina of the witch or wizard, the longer the spell can be maintained, and there's also a matter of distance…" She added, thoughtfully staring at her double.
Emily nodded. "It can only go so far before the strength of the cast is weakened and the copy is either forced to go back or it disappears. So far it can only go about 30 feet and only lasts about… an hour, currently. At first it was a couple of seconds, and then a couple of minutes. It's progressed nicely."
"I can see." Slughorn said appraisingly.
Emily waved her wand and both her and her copy glowed blue, and Slughorn watched as the copy disappeared in a swirl of a blue mist that was sucked into Emily's wand. Emily nodded to Slughorn. "If that's all, professor, I have to go meet Regulus now."
"Emily, you don't seem to grasp the vastness of your skills. You will go far, I promise you, and I am more than happy to help you in any way that I can." He said. "And I'm always here if you need someone to talk to. My door is always open."
Emily smiled. "Thank you professor." Turning away she headed out of the office quickly. She wanted to make it to the library as fast as possible so that Regulus wouldn't have to wait too long and start to worry about her, as he ended up doing a lot since her accident. But he made up for his excessive worrying by helping her catch up in the classes he and Emily shared.
Slughorn had been overestimating Emily when he assumed that she was weeks ahead of her class. It may have seemed that way with Potions, because that class came so easily to her, but with the rest of her classes it wasn't the same.
Before the accident she had been at the same level as everyone else, and a little below in Defense and Herbology. Now she had to work five times as hard just to be able to pass her classes and had no time to work on new spells like she wanted to, and no more progression with her duplicating spell. Not to mention that the Apparition lessons she and the rest of the sixth years had signed up for earlier in the year were now being held, resulting in her having even less time to catch up properly.
Everything was starting to weigh down: the new homework, the make-up work, the extra studying, trying to decipher Regulus's notes, and prefect duties
Emily knew that her entire Easter vacation was going to be spent working on her schoolwork.
Emily groaned, about ready to knock her head against the table. "I can't do this."
"You're the smartest in our year." Regulus said without hesitating. "You just need to focus."
She actually did bang her head against the table. "I don't feel smart. I feel exhausted and my brain at this point is on overload."
"Well you're the one who won't let yourself stop. I'm just here because you need my notes." Regulus said, sounding bored and not looking up from his book.
"Oh, you mean these?" She asked, holding up several pieces of parchment covered with a scratchy handwriting and doodles. "These hieroglyphics? That I spend more time interpreting than copying?"
Regulus smirked and reached for them. "If you can't be grateful for my help then I'll just take those back."
Emily pulled them out of his reach. "I am grateful, but you just have bad handwriting."
Regulus sighed and leaned back in his chair, balancing it on two legs and propping his feet on the table. "Emily, it's the weekend. We should be relaxing instead of working every minute. None of our homework is even due until next week."
"For you maybe." She said, returning to her essay. "But I have to do all my make-up work and study for the quizzes I missed. I'm far behind in every class. The time between when the essays being assigned now are due is used for the essays assigned when I was asleep. The time after classes and my free periods are used to make-up the class work with our teachers. And let me tell you, not all of them are so pleased with me taking up all their free time."
"Fine," He sighed in defeat. "But once Easter break comes, we'll get to relax."
"You'll get to relax." She corrected. "I'm staying at school."
"Why?" He groaned childishly. "We could be spending that time together, doing something fun."
"Fun is not on the agenda for me, unfortunately, or I would gladly do anything you'd like."
Regulus grinned and planted his feet on the floor once more, leaning towards Emily with a suggestive eyebrow raised. "Anything?"
Emily gave him a look. "Anything but that." She sighed and shook her head. "Sometimes I fear you don't think of anything else."
Regulus rolled his eyes. "I was just kidding."
"Were you?" She asked. "Then why don't I believe you?"
Regulus grabbed her hand between his and stared down at her with sincere eyes. "All I'm saying Emily, is that I want to spend time with you."
"You are spending time with me." She said softly.
"But all we do is study and all you do is stress. Half the time you don't even remember I'm here."
She rolled her eyes. "Don't be ridiculous, I didn't-"
"You left without me at least five times this week." He cut her off.
She bowed her head apologetically. "I'm sorry. I just need to catch up."
Regulus raised her chin with one hand and cupped her cheek. "I know, and I want to help you however I can, but I don't like seeing you work yourself into exhaustion. I hate having to worry about you, because I know you don't want me too, but with the way you're doing things… I can't help but worry for you. I just got you back Emily, and I don't want to lose you again because you worked yourself to death."
"You don't have to worry about me. Everything is organized and I know what I'm doing. It's just all very… stressful." She admitted.
"Then take a break. Use Easter vacation to spend some time with me. We'll do whatever you want to do, and then when we get back we can work."
Emily shook her head and pulled away. "No, I'm sorry. I already arranged with my professors to work over Easter. And then when you get back we have our Apparition tests. There's too much to do to take the whole break off to relax."
Regulus looked crestfallen and bowed his head. Emily felt guilty and tried to think of something. "We can do something for summer. By then we'll both be able to Apparate and we could go anywhere."
"I want to spend time with you now." He said selfishly. "Summer is too far away. Besides, we would have spent the summer together anyway."
"Right…" She bit her lip, looking down at her books. After an inner battle she made up her mind and looked back up. "Why don't we go flying?"
Regulus brightened. "Flying? Are you sure?"
She nodded determinedly. "Yes. All this will be here when I get back, and you're right. I do need a break."
Regulus shot out of his seat. "Brilliant!" His happiness wasn't fazed at all when the librarian shushed him. He started gathering all the books, Emily's as well, and putting them in their respective bags. Emily sat back, surprised, and watched silently as his did this. She rose and followed him as he exited the library, both of their bags over his shoulder.
"We're going now?" She asked flabbergasted.
"Of course." He paused in the hallway. "Now, you go ahead to the pitch while I go get my broom and drop off our bags."
"You don't have to, I can-"
He shook his head and pushed her in the direction of the entrance hall while he headed off towards the dungeons. "Just wait for me!" He called before disappearing from her sight all together.
Emily sighed and reluctantly made her way to the entrance hall, regretting ever bringing up the idea of going flying. She straightened after a moment and smiled slightly, looking thoughtfully at the ceiling.
"Well, at least he's happy."
She was suddenly caught off guard when something ran into her, knocking her over and the something landing on her roughly, knocking the wind out of her. Emily opened her eyes and sat up, wincing at her sore tailbone, and stared down at the first year lying across her lap.
The little boy looked up hesitantly and his eyes widened when he saw Emily. He stood up and backed away. "I-I'm sorry. I…I didn't mean. I wasn't…wasn't looking…"
Emily narrowed her eyes and stood, brushing off her robes. "It's fine." Something about the boy looked familiar. He had light brown hair and wide brown eyes. His Hufflepuff crest stood out against his black robes. "You look familiar…do I know you?"
He shook his head quickly, his face pale. "No!" He squeaked, looking petrified.
Emily's eyes widened. His fear and squeaky voice jogged a memory. "You…You're the boy that ran into me at dinner before…" Her expression hardened in anger and she drew her wand.
The boy's eyes widened further and he tried to run.
The boy slowed to a stop, still in running position. Emily kept her face blank and walked until she stood in front of his prone figure. She waved her wand and he began to move. He became unbalanced and tipped forward, landing in a heap at Emily's feet. He tried to crawl away, but froze when her wand was pointed directly at him.
"Why are you so terrified of my presence?" She asked, kneeling down in front of him. "If it was just normal fear I'd let it go, but you seem almost…guilty. When you hit me at dinner, did you do it on purpose? You were trying to distract me, weren't you? So that someone could slip that poison in my drink."
"P-Please…. don't hurt me." He whimpered.
Emily sneered. "Pathetic. Just tell me who put you up to it, because I'm sure someone so easily frightened as you would never be brave or cunning enough to attempt murder. So…Who was it?"
"She'll…She'll kill me if I tell you."
Emily smirked and leaned closer. "And you think I'm just going to stand by and let you get away when you were a part of my poisoning?" She narrowed her eyes menacingly. "I can make sure you get a fate worse then death. If I go to Dumbledore, I have no doubt that you'll be expelled."
"No! Please don't tell!" He cried. "I-I didn't know! I swear! I was only a distraction. I didn't know anything about the poisoning. Katrina didn't tell me anything about what she was doing. I-"
The boy gasped and covered his mouth.
"It was Katrina Pearl, wasn't it?"
He nodded and muttered. "Yes."
Emily stood up and pocketed her wand, looking down at the boy blankly. "Go, before I give you something to really fear."
When he was gone, having run away as quickly as he could before Emily could do anything to him, Emily continued on her way to the entrance hall and then the Quidditch pitch, her mind turning over this new information.
She sat on the bleachers, her chin in her hands and her elbows on her knees.
It was stupid to assume Katrina would take what I did to her. She is a Slytherin after all. I should have realized she'd want revenge.
Truthfully, Emily knew that she had forgotten about the blond haired brown-eyed girl since embarrassing her in front of the entire school and foiling her plot to become popular. Emily paid Katrina no mind in classes and never ran into her in the common room, the other girl was most likely keeping a low profile. Ever since Emily started dating Regulus her old life, the life of loneliness and shunning, no longer mattered, and that included any thoughts of Katrina.
How am I going to make sure she pays?
Katrina had gone too far. Ruining reputations is one thing, but actually trying to kill? Emily knew without a doubt that the other attempts on her life: the messed up potion in potions class, which was a pathetic attempt because the only side effect was the singing, the staircase, and the bookshelf falling over, were probably all caused by Katrina.
Emily scowled. Should have taken care of her when I had the chance. I knew that she only got a couple weeks detention for the potion stealing, but… I never expected her to do this. It's just so… devious. It's very unlike her. She's an idiot…Hmm.
Emily looked up as Regulus ran onto the pitch, broom in his hand. He stopped in front of her, eager smile on his face. "Ready?"
Emily couldn't suppress the smile that formed. There was just a child-like happiness that surrounded him. She stood, pushing all her thoughts to the back of her mind, but not forgotten. "Sure."
He mounted his broom and held out a hand to her. "Then come on."
She grabbed his hand, but hesitated. "You sure it's safe?"
He nodded. "Of course, you're always safe with me."
She rolled her eyes. "You're always so cheesy."
"Most girls like cheesy." He smirked and pulled her closer. "But you're not like most girls."
"No, I myself like a guy to be sweet once in a while," she said with a grin. "But I just think we're beyond that stage in our relationship."
"And what stage are we at?" he asked. "The 'girlfriend allows boyfriend to take her flying stage'?"
"Apparently," she looked at the broom with disinterest. "But it doesn't mean the girlfriend has to like it."
His face was inches from hers and Emily's breath caught. His face was serious and his hands were holding hers tightly. "Emily, don't you trust me?"
She could only nod, her mouth suddenly dry.
He rested his forehead against hers. "Then trust me to take care of you and just live a little dangerously once in a while."
"I think my life is dangerous enough without a broom." She was partly serious with that statement. "But I guess I can't argue now that I'm out here, right?"
Regulus nodded and smiled. "I promise you'll love it, and I'll even let you sit in front."
"Yay…" She muttered halfheartedly.
The broom ride distracted Emily, but she didn't forget the wrong that was brought against her, and her vengeful spirit began to rise and her fingers itched to cast some spells.
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