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Chapter 5 : Cocoa Puff Power and Pernicious Potions
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The Great Hall was a dismal scene on the morning following the Annual Marauder’s Last Night Before Last First Day of School Party.
Remus walked into the hall for breakfast that morning having awoken much earlier than his snoring roommates. It seemed that most of the Hogwarts’s upperclassmen had felt the same way as them and were having a much-needed lie in this morning. The four house tables were practically empty, littered with only the few first, second, and third years that had decided to actually make it to class on time today. Remus looked at his watch. That was weird. McGonagall would be handing out schedules to the Gryffindor’s in less than ten minutes, and yet there wasn’t a single seventh year at the table to receive one.
Taking a glance at the enchanted ceiling, the weather seemed to be reflecting the mood of all the missing students. Clouds roamed about, greying the entire room. Sprinkles of rain could be seen falling from the ceiling before disappearing.
Realizing that he had no one to sit with, Remus took a seat at the far end of the table, which was inundated with a delicious assortment of breakfast goods. Smoked sausages were piled high, glistening with grease. A stack of pancakes sat waiting for the taking, only to be replaced by another when Remus grabbed them for himself. He also helped himself to some juicy bacon and a healthy serving of hash browns before setting his plate down in front of him. He saw that something new had been added to the breakfast table this year. In front of him sat several boxes of Muggle cereal. From his vantage point, Remus could see that several first years chose to take advantage of this. A little girl was opening a box of what looked like Cocoa Puffs, smiling as she poured them into a waiting bowl. Remus grinned as he observed the girl, who was now shoving the balls of chocolate into her mouth with great relish. Someone did not get to eat sugary cereal at home. That much was obvious.
“Where is everybody?” A perplexed looking Lily Evans drew Remus’s attention away from the cereal monger first years.
Remus shrugged. “Most likely they’re either trying to sleep off a dreadful hangover or trying to steal some Pepper-Up Potion from Madam Pompfrey.”
Lily sighed as she sat down across from Remus. “I just knew no good could come from having that party. I mean, honestly, it’s the first day of classes and half the school is dead in their beds.” Lily too decided pancakes were the way to go this morning, but she eyed the box of Coca Puffs with some longing.
Remus consoled her, “I’m sure people will be coming around any moment, nothing to worry too much about. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy eating a hearty breakfast so that I can also enjoy rubbing in Padfoot’s face when he walks into the first class ten minutes late.”
“Talking about my face again, Moony. Can’t say I blame you. It is a popular subject, especially among the fan girls.” Sirius entered the Great Hall with fashion, winking at a second year Hufflepuff who had been eyeing the elder Gryffindors. “But what’s this about you doubting my appearance at breakfast. It is, of course, my favorite meal of the day.”
Sirius took a seat down at the table next to Remus, eyeing the food spread. He picked up the box of Cocoa Puffs and shook it. “What the blood hell is this?” He turned the box around in his hands, observing it from several angles.
Lily laughed. “It’s cereal, Sirius. It’s a pretty popular breakfast food among Muggles.”
Sirius looked up from the box to Lily, intrigued, “Fascinating.”
“Are you going to try some?” Lily asked, bemused.
“Yes yes yes.”
Sirius looked at the box. He turned it around. He shook it.
“But Red,” he finally asked, “how?”
Lily and Remus laughed.
Deciding that it would be best to throw the poor kid a bone, Lily answered, “Tell you what Sirius, let’s make a deal. I’ll show you how to eat your Cocoa Puffs, if you don’t call me Red the rest of this week.”
“That’s the deal. Take it or leave it.”
“For heaven’s sake Sirius, it’s only a week.”
“Sirius.” Lily’s voice was firm.
“Allllriiight… show me… Show me! Show me! Show me!”
“Settle down child it’s not that complicated.”
As Lily instructed Sirius on the proper way to eat cereal, Remus noticed that several other members of Gryffindor seventh year had decided to wake from their slumber.
James Potter was making his way to the Gryffindor table, followed by three girls. All four of them looked utterly exhausted.
“Good morning,” Remus greeted the stragglers cheerfully.
“Says who?” The meager reply came from a raccoon-eyed Meg Rivera, who had attempted to cover up her hangover by skillfully using eyeliner, eye shadow, and mascara. She had used her five minutes in the bathroom to apply said makeup, leaving no time whatsoever for hair or properly straightening her clothing. Her normally clean appearance was downright ragged, yet she still seemed to rock the look, as only a truly attractive person can. There was something about a hot mess that called a man’s attention. In fact, Remus noticed that several older male students were sending covert glances in her direction. Meg sat down next to Lily, slumped her shoulders dramatically, and grabbed an apple from the table.
Claribel and Shanti also took seats on Lily’s side of the table, while James slumped into place next to a chocolate inundated Sirius. “Well, I think that the Annual Marauder’s Last Night Before Last First Day of School Party can officially be declared a success. Don’t you agree, Prongs?” Sirius exclaimed, looking toward his drowsy best friend.
James, who had his head resting on his hand and his eyes closed, looked up at the mention of his nickname. “What did you say?”
“What about it?”
“Shall we declare success?” Sirius spoke with such enthusiasm that he shook his bowl of Cocoa Puffs.
Unimpeded by James’ lack of enthusiasm, Sirius jumped from his seat, yelling, “SUCCESS!”
As heads across the hall turned in unison toward the far end of the Gryffindor table, Sirius sat back down. Smiling, he picked up his bowl of chocolate and milk and continued eating gleefully. Unfortunately, he would be the only one to do so because at that moment the breakfast food disappeared off the table as the Heads of Houses handed out schedules.
James, who had been reaching for some smoked sausages, groaned loudly and banged his head on the table repeatedly.
“I’d be careful if I were you, Potter, you might to more damage to your already impaired brain.” Lily informed James with a smirk.
James looked up at Lily, frowning. “Well, Evans, what’s done is done, and, while we’re on the subject of impaired brains, may I ask who was the bloody idiot who decided to let Padfoot have chocolate before nine o’clock in the morning.” He gestured toward Sirius in a flourish.
Sirius, who was still carrying his bowl of Cocoa Puffs, was now skipping the aisle between the Gryffindor and Hufflepuff tables. As he gallivanted dramatically, he peaked in between the students shoulder saying, “Chocolaty goodness. Yum. Yum. Yum. And for breakfast!! Aren’t ‘ya jealous?” After he spoke, he then took a giant spoonful of said chocolaty goodness and munched in their faces.
Lily made a face somewhere between disgust, amusement, and embarrassment as Sirius ambled up to her.
“Thanks for introducing me to this Muggle marvel, Red. This is the best breakfast ever!”
“Oops, sorry, I meant Lily.”
Sirius sat his bowl down on the table, where it disappeared. Then he bounced down the aisle until he bumped into Professor McGonagall. “Schedule, Mr. Black?”
She asked, handing Sirius a course list.
“Thanks, Minnie, you’re a doll!”
Sirius proceeded to skip past the stiff professor and into the Entrance Hall.
James, raising one eyebrow, turned back to Lily, who shrugged apologetically.
“How was I supposed to know that he shouldn’t have chocolate in the morning?”
“Lily, it’s Sirius.”
“Yeah, I probably should have thought that one through a bit more,” Lily admitted weakly, “and unfortunately he’ll most likely still call me Red for the rest of the week.”
“Most likely. But that’s beside the point. A chocolate induced Sirius is far worse than an alcohol induced Sirius.” James said while shaking his head.
“Why is that?” Lily asked hesitantly.
“He can keep the alcohol down.”
“Ugh, gross. So those four bowls of Cocoa Puff he just ate are…”
“Coming right back up.”
“I’d give it an hour, max.”
“Remind me not to sit anywhere near him first class.”
Lily looked over at her friends, who were now discussing the class schedule with Remus. Feeling left out of their conversation, she decided that she should try to engage her weary Head counterpart in a discussion. It was for the best. They did have to work together this year. She turned back to James, seeking a topic. She decided to play off what they were just talking about.
“Speaking of alcohol induced, would you declare the Annual Marauder’s Last Night Before Last First Day of School Party a success? Or was it too big of a success?” Lily looked at the disheveled James knowingly, giving him a scan from his messy hair down to his untied shoelaces.
Reading her well, James said in defiance, “Hey, my appearance has nothing to due with alcohol. I’ll have you know that I had nothing stronger than butterbeer last night.”
“Then why do you look like shit?”
James laughed, “Because I had to stay and watch Padfoot and Mia amble out of the Room of Requirement at four in the morning. If you were running on three hours of sleep, you’d look shitty too.”
“Four in the moring?” Lily asked him.
“Yeah. I acted the chaperone. The designated flier, if you will. There was no way those two were getting back to the common room on there own.”
“How very thoughtful of you.”
“I have my moments.”
“Why so surprised, Evans? I felt rather responsible for them. Though, considering they were the ones to bring the alcohol to the party, maybe I should have just left them there. Then we wouldn’t have to deal with chocolate induced, sleep-deprived Sirius this morning.” James sighed bitterly.
“I was going to ask. Why isn’t Sirius in a worse state this morning? He should be hungover and as sleep-deprived as you,” Lily pointed out wisely.
“Well,” James thought out his answer, ”I don’t thing he was actually that drunk last night. Mia and him seemed to be on their own personal high. Although, as for the lack of sleep, I bet he crashes before noon. A kid can only run on chocolate for so long. After then, I’ll be around to drag him to classes.”
“You and Sirius have a very weird friendship.”
“Eh, what else is new? I figure that if I were to pass out before noon, Sirius would do the same for me.”
Rolling her eyes, Lily said, “That logic is completely mental. The loyalty on the other hand is definitely admirable.”
James’s eyes rose abruptly, “Do my ears deceive me? Or was that almost a compliment upon fair maiden’s lips?”
“Don’t let your head get too big, Potter, or you won’t be able to fit it over your shirt.”
“Wow, the first big headed joke of the year, and classes haven’t even started yet.” James smiled at Lily, who rolled her eyes.
Sighing accordingly, Lily looked up to see that Professor McGonagall had reached the seventh years. “Good morning, Professor.” Lily greeted her with a wide smile.
“To you as well, Miss Evans,” the tight-lipped woman replied, handing Lily a schedule. “Also, Congratulations on Head Girl. No one deserves it more. Same to you, Mr. Potter. It’s been quite some time since two Gryffindors were names Heads. I trust that the two of you will be fit for the job. Working together?”
There was nothing harsh about these words, yet Lily and James both knew there were hidden connotations behind them. They nodded at McGonagall assuringly.
After McGonagall left, James leaned over the table toward Lily, “So, what’s our first class of our last year of Hogwarts?”
“Do you have to keep pointing out that it’s our last year? Aren’t you the least bit nervous to be out of school?” Lily asked.
“Of course I’m nervous! Why do you think that I keep saying that it’s our last year? These are monumental moments happening here. Now, come on, open the schedule.”
James waited anxiously…
“Well, are you going to open it, or not!”
“Sure, I just like seeing you sweat it out.”
“That’s cruel, Evans.”
Lily laughed. “Ok, calm down, our first class is…”
“Potions! Ugh, you have got to be kidding me.” Claribel interjected from down the table.
The other seventh years had received their schedules too. “Great. Just great. Let’s start off with the one class I’m doomed to fail. This is the class that is going to determine whether or not I get into Healing School!”
“Claire, you’ll be fine.” Lily assured her friend.
“No, Miss ‘Professor Sluggy’s precious potions protégée’, I’m not going to be fine.”
“While your potions may not be up to par Claribel, your alliterations are superb.” James complimented. “What else do we have today?” James peered, leaning toward Lily’s schedule.
Lily leaned away, “Don’t you have your own schedule?”
“You do not have a schedule?”
“I do not have a schedule.”
“You don’t have a schedule.”
“That is correct.”
“You were just given one! How could you possibly lose it?”
“I was not given one.”
“You weren’t given one?”
“That is correct.”
“HEY! SHUT IT!” a third voice cut in.
James and Lily turned toward the speaker.
Megara Rivera had finally gained some life in her eyes, “As much as I’m loving this completely redundant conversation, can we please make our way to Potions. Unless, of course, you lot want to be late to our first class of our last year at school.”
As the group gathered their stuff and made their way toward the dungeons, James whispered to Lily, “See, I’m not the only one who does it.”
Late. Mia sprinted across the grass.
I cannot be fucking late, not today.
Not that kinda late, perve.
I am not a whore.
But you are rather insane.
I’m not insane!
Arguing with yourself in your head? Do you do that often?
No, I do not! I don’t have arguments with myself!
Then what do you call this?
Arguing with yourself in your head AND losing. That’s when you know you’re insane.
Bloody hell. I’m so fucking late.
The Hogwart’s Potion Classroom was like other Hogwart’s classrooms in that it was not like any other Hogwart’s classroom. Set in the dungeons, it gave a whole new level to dreary. The walls, ceiling, and floor were made from stone, like much of the castle. There was very minimal lighting in the room, bathing the room in a color that can only be described as grey.
“Have I ever mentioned how much I hate this room?” Claribel said as the six teenagers meandered into the dismal setting.
“Once or twice…”
“Since we were first years.”
Claribel held up her hands in an ‘I’m innocent’ gesture, “Okay, okay. I guess I do hate on potions a lot.”
“Not your fault. Potions such.” Meg told her calmly.
“Hey! I like potions!”
“Of course you do, Lily.” Meg rolled her eyes. Mornings did no good for her ability to tolerate enthusiasm for potions.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
In prevention of an early morning argument, James interrupted, “Hey, can we find some seats before they’re all taken. The last thing I want is to be stuck with some Slytherin as a potions partner.”
“Ditto.” Claribel agree, grabbing Remus and dragging him toward an empty table near the front of the classroom, Claribel saying as they went, “I am determined to pass this class with at least an E, Remus Lupin, and sweet Merlin, you are going to help me.”
Shanti and Meg also found an empty table, though more toward the middle of the classroom.
“Can I…” Lily turned toward James, mouth open, to ask him to sit with her only to see him pulling out a chair.
“Wouldn’t want it any other way, Lily.”
Lily smiled. “You’re just saying that because you don’t want to be covered in Sirius’s Cocoa Puffs halfway through class.”
James laughed, “Ah, you’ve spotted my alterior motive.”
“You’re honestly not that clever, Potter.”
James put his hand to his chest, “Ouch. You wound me, Evans.”
Lily opened her mouth to reply but was distracted as a man on a sugar high bashed into the potions room.
“Greetings, my fellow Hogwartians!”
“Oh, Merlin,” muttered James.
Sirius strutted down the rows of tables until he reached the one where Lily and James sat. Placing his books down he said, he looked up, a surprised expression crossing his features. “Red, you are in my seat,” he said indignantly.
“Oh, my bad. I mean, Lily, you are in my seat.”
“No…Sirius, this is my seat.”
Sirius’s jaw dropped dramatically. “Prongs, tell Evans that this is my seat.”
“Pads, I’m afraid that I cannot do that.” James replied solemnly.
“Well, why the bloody hell not?” asked Sirius.
“It would make absolutely no sense to pick you over Lily. She’s got the brains, she’s got the beauty, and, quite frankly, she smells a lot better than you do.” James told Sirius with a bitter nod.
Turning around, Sirius made his way to the back of the room where one last table remained untaken.
“Hard to argue with that. I guess I’ll just walk back here…to the losers’ table…in the back of the room…all by myself.” Sirius’s rambling became fainter as he drifted away from the Head duo.
“Thanks, James.” Lily said as they turned around having watched Sirius lay his head down on his table in defeat.
“For what? Telling Sirius that you smell better than him? Because that wasn’t a compliment, Lily, it was merely a fact. But, you could take it as a compliment. Really, you do smell good. Like strawberries.”
James leaned closer to Lily.
“What are you…” Lily began.
James leaned back into his chair.
“Yup, like strawberries.”
Before Lily could reply, a voice spoke up loudly from the front of the room as Professor Slughorn decided to start the class.
“Good morning, seventh years. Welcome to your final year of Hogwarts and to your final year of potions. By the end of this year, all of you shall have mastered many of the fine arts of potion making. From Amortentia to Felix Felicis, we will be studying and making all possible potions that may appear on your N.E.W.T. exam in the spring.”
While he spoke, the rotund Professor made his way to the blackboard. Flipping it around, he grabbed a piece of chalk and wrote two words “Polyjuice Potion”.
Members of the class who were still paying attention straightened in their seats, tapping their dazing counterparts and looking toward the board excitedly.
“Yes, for the first month of the school year, we will be making Polyjuice Potion. An advanced brew that when prepared properly allows a human drinker to take the form of another human,” Slughorn paused for a moment before continuing, “As some of you may have noticed, Polyjuice has been appearing more and more in present conditions. The ability to transform oneself, or conceal oneself, is easily taken advantage of.”
Lily glanced at James, wondering what the Professor was talking about. She failed to make eye contact. James was peering ahead fixedly, his expression serious. Turning to her other side, she made eye contact with Shanti, who also looked confused. Lily shrugged her shoulders, indicating that she as well had no idea.
“Our purpose in making the potion is purely academic. These supplies are not easy to come by, and I highly recommend not making this potion unless you must under your eventual occupational circumstances. With that, I ask that you take out your Advanced Potion Making textbooks and turn to page 287 where you will find instructions on how to begin your potion.”
As students opened their books, the back door flug open to hit the wall with a bang, and a girl with tangled brown hair crashed through the door.
“I’m so sorry, Professor,” the girl apologized. “I know I’m incredibly late.” Amelia Jones apologized profusely as she made her way toward the front of the classroom.
“Ah, Miss Jones, I knew that we were missing someone. I’ll let you slide this one time, on the account that it is the first day back. Please take a seat at the back with Mr. Black.” Remembering something else, Slughorn said, “Oh, and class, please make friends with the person seated next to you, for they shall be your final potions’ partner.”
Mia sighed with relief, realizing that she wasn’t to be punished…
“Wait, sit with Black, you said, Sir?”
“Yes, Miss Jones. Sirius Black. Perhaps you’ve met him?”
Not amused by the Professor’s sense of humor, Mia turned to face her doom, who was sitting at the very back table with a maniacal grin on his face.
Eff my existence, Mia thought as she dawdled to the back of the classroom, a look of unease plastered on her face.
Interpreting Mia’s expression correctly, Sirius asked, “Why you no happy to be with Sirius?” he pouted for the umpteenth time that day.
Mia rolled her eyes.
“Don’t even make that face, Sirius. Everyone knows that you are the worst potions’ partner.”
“I am not!”
“Yes, you are: you never pay attention, you make your partner do all the work, and you mess up the potion when you actually bother putting in an ingredient. How James put up with you all these years I will never know.”
“You make me sound horrible.”
Mia fixed him with a steady stare.
“Fine. From now on, I am going to be the most fabulous potion’s partner you will ever have. Now, what page is this potion on anyway?”
“How should I know? I was late. Remember? Oh, and only gay guys say “fabulous”. Should I be questioning your relationship with James? We’ve always suspected there might be more.”
“SIRIUS AND I ARE NOT GAY TOGETHER!”
Without even turning around, James Potter had shouted this across the room.
“Does that kid have extrasensory hearing or something?” Mia asked Sirius in a whisper.
“Only when you question his sexual preferences. Although, I think that it’s pretty clear that the boy’s had his sight set on a particularly vivacious red-headed female for quite some time now.”
“Very true, yet this does not really answer my question. I was implying that you were gay.”
Mia leaned across her table to view what page the Ravenclaws in front of them were on. Flipping to the page, she began to gather what they would need to start the potion. She set up the cauldron as Sirius replied.
Leaning closer to her, he whispered, “Love, you know as well as I do that I prefer…let’s say, your type.”
Mia read through the list of needed ingredients. Not looking up she said, “Yeah, yeah. You keep on giving those fan girls false hope.”
“I am not gay. I swear. I’m straight as a circle.”
“My point exactly.”
Mia made her way up to the potions cabinet to pick some knotgrass and leeches. Sirius followed behind her like a lapdog.
“What do you mean, ‘My point exactly’?” Sirius questioned.
Mia opened the cabinet and grabbed what they needed and turned back around
“Sirius, circles are round. Not a straight edge to them.”
Sirius looked confused.
“Yep.” Mia smirked at him as she began laying out her ingredients for today.
“Well, I just put a hand in my mouth, didn’t I?”
Setting up their cauldron, Mia rolled her eyes.
“Sirius the expression is foot in your mouth.” She told him sardonically.
“Oops, I did it again. Damn. My bad.” Dejected, Sirius grabbed Mia’s open book.
“So, what are we making today?”
“Polyjuice Potion.” Mia sighed as she placed the cauldron, which now was half full with water, under a low flame, and added the knotgrass. “Sirius, do you ever actually listen to what anyone says?”
“I’m sorry, love. What was that?”
“I’m just kidding. I always listen to you. It’s much easier to pay attention to someone with a beautiful face that some fat washed up old teacher. This is why I always pay attention in Transfiguation. Minnie is just so drop-dead gorgeous.”
“As much as I love being compared to McGonagall, can we drop the conversation and actually work on the potion here.” Apparently, Mia’s patience for Sirius’s witty banter had run its fuse.
“Sure. What can I do?”
“Well, you can start by squashing those leeches so that we can add them next.” Mia was stirring the current contents of the potion counterclockwise very slowly, counting each turn.
Minutes later, Sirius said, “All done!”
“Already?” Mia asked suspiciously.
Bending down, she saw that Sirius had indeed accomplished his task, quickly and to perfection.
“That was fast. Why are you so good at everything?”
“I’m just awesome.” Sirius told her with little enthusiasm, looking slightly off-put.
“Clearly,” Mia looked at him questioningly, “Well, are you going to add them?”
Sirius had an odd sort of look on his face.
Sirius leaned over to add the mushed up leeches, looking at the already off-putting potion. He added the leeches, and he and Mia watched as the potion began to turn into an unpleasantly lumpy black liquid.
Then, Sirius vomited.
Oh. My. Gosh. For those of you who are still reading this story, I apologize for the far to long update. And thank you for waiting patiently.
Hope you enjoyed the chapter! Please leave a Review. They literally mean so much to me.
Also, I don’t care if there aren’t any Cocoa Puffs in England. There is at Hogwarts. It’s magic. <3
Lots of Love
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