Chapter 3 : The Philosopher's Stone
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Despite the incident with the fireworks, she seemed to like Roxanne. Roxanne thought that this was probably because she was the best at Potions in their year. She wasn’t being cocky. It was just true.
That was probably why Roxanne convinced her to say more than she may have originally intended.
“But Professor, what is the Elixir of Life?” she asked.
James, who had started cutting up their dandelion roots, looked up in interest. He was not the only one; about half the class was staring at Dorny, waiting for her answer.
Dorny seemed slightly taken aback by the sudden interest in what she had probably not intended to be anything more than a passing mention of the wonders potions could achieve. “It is an elixir that makes the drinker immortal for as long as he or she regularly consumes it.”
There was a murmur around the class at this. “How do you make it?” one of their fellow Gryffindors asked.
Dorny smiled. “Oh, it’s not easy to make, Mr. Fairbourne. You need a Philosopher’s Stone, for one thing, and then only the most skilled potioners can successfully brew it.”
“How many stones are there in existence?” Annora Wilkes asked eagerly, fingering the green Slytherin badge on her robes.
Roxanne did not like Annora very much. Only losers and blood purity lunatics wore robes these days. Roxanne had not figured out which one Annora was yet, but as far as she was concerned, it was really a race to the bottom.
“The last known stone in existence was destroyed years ago,” Dorny answered, turning back to the board on which she had written instructions for the day’s potion assignment. “Now—”
“Is it really true that the Philosopher’s Stone could also make gold?” another Slytherin cut in. Roxanne did not know his name. She was not putting much effort into remembering the Slytherin students’ names. It was only a month into the school year. She was sure that she’d remember them eventually.
“Yes, it is,” Dorny said, clearly beginning to get impatient. “Now, if you will please begin the assignment.” She tapped the board with her wand and looked at them expectantly.
“Stroke of genius, Rox,” James whispered as he threw the dandelion roots into the cauldron they were sharing for the day. “Now we can make them crazy about it.”
She grinned at him. “That was the point.”
Roxanne and James had discovered over the past month how much they really liked breaking the rules. It was much more fun when there were real rules to break. Roxanne’s parents’ rules basically included helping with chores, not riding her broom in the house, and not blowing anything up.
And the last one was at least a little negotiable.
But at Hogwarts, there were so many rules, and almost getting caught or knowing you’d gotten away with it was easily at least half the fun. Maybe more.
“Do you really believe that it was destroyed?” James asked Roxanne loudly as he stirred their potion.
Several people looked over at them in interest. Roxanne pretended to consider this for a moment as she measured out the armadillo bile, and then, as she was pouring it in, she said, very doubtfully, “I don’t know… that seems too convenient.”
Everett Zabini narrowed his eyes at them. “What would you know about it?” he asked.
“More than you,” James told him scornfully. “My dad actually saw the stone.”
Everett stopped stirring his potion, interested despite himself. Unfortunately for him, not stirring the potion in this phase made it thicken considerably, and his partner was too busy cutting up their dandelion roots to notice.
Roxanne decided not to point this out to them.
James’s father had seen the stone. He had apparently even touched the stone. He had also told them in no uncertain terms that the stone had been destroyed. Roxanne and James both definitely believed him.
But the Slytherins didn’t know that.
“Really,” Everett said skeptically. Roxanne could see a faint hint of smoke rising up from his cauldron and managed to keep herself from smiling only with extreme difficulty.
“Of course, really,” Roxanne told him, tossing her braids over her shoulder and giving him a disgusted look. “Honestly, Zabini, don’t you know who James’s father is?”
“Wait a minute.” Edith Kelleen had clearly been listening in on their conversation, because she turned around. Deborah Baddock continued to stir their potion, but judging from how still she was standing, she was also listening. “Are you saying that your father really touched the stone?”
Roxanne did not mind Edith anywhere near as much as she minded Annora or Everett. Edith was actually with the times and usually wore normal people clothes. The hat she wore over her short brown hair whenever she could get away with it did have a Slytherin badge on it, but Roxanne was willing to forgive her for that.
“Of course,” James said. He ran a hand through his black hair and smiled disarmingly.
Roxanne rolled her eyes. James liked to think of himself as charming. For some reason, many of their yearmates seemed to buy into it.
“Wow,” Edith breathed. “Did he ever tell you what happened to it?”
James shrugged and turned back to the table to count out newt eyes while Roxanne took over the stirring. “Well, he said that it was destroyed.”
“But you don’t believe that?” Everett seemed to have forgotten that he disliked them in his curiosity.
Roxanne looked up from their potion and lowered her voice, making sure to keep stirring. “Well… to be honest, it seemed kind of like he was just saying what he wanted us to think, if you know what I mean.”
James nodded sagely. “I didn’t believe him at all. I bet the stone’s still hidden in the school.”
Just as Everett opened his mouth again, Dorny walked by. “Mr. Zabini, Mr. Bradley, this is not what I asked for.”
Their potion had turned to sludge. Everett became too busy trying to salvage the potion to question them further, but from the way he kept glancing their way, he wasn’t satisfied with what they’d told him so far.
Which, of course, was exactly what they had been going for.
Once they’d left Potions and Dorny had closed the dungeon door behind them, they were immediately besieged by about half the class, who wanted to know more about the stone and what exactly James had meant when he’d said he thought it was still in the school.
James held up his hands. “I don’t know much more than you do. I mean, like I said, my dad said it was destroyed.”
“But you don’t believe it?” Annora asked in a hushed voice.
“Well…” James drew out the word. “It’s just that who destroys something that powerful?”
Roxanne cast a look around for teachers and lowered her voice. “We think that they just said it was destroyed. We think that it’s just hidden.”
“Where?” Deborah asked. She was clenching the strap of her bag in her hands so hard Roxanne was vaguely surprised that it didn’t break, and the look in her eyes was downright manic. “Gringotts?”
Roxanne pretended to consider the question seriously, though inside it was all she could do to keep herself from laughing. They all looked so serious. “We think it might still be here in the castle. Maybe it never left.”
“My dad said that last time, it was guarded by Devil’s Snare,” James said. “So we were thinking… what if it still is?”
Roxanne could tell by the sudden shift in expressions that they were thinking about that. “It’s probably just a myth, of course,” she said. “It probably really was destroyed.”
“Right,” Everett said, shrugging and taking a step back. “I’m sure it was.”
“And Devil’s Snare is supposed to be really dangerous,” Annora pointed out. “What’s the point of a stone that makes you immortal if getting to it kills you?”
The Slytherins who had stuck around were now looking at each other suspiciously.
Roxanne and James were shaking with suppressed laughter by the time they reached the Gryffindor common room.
And that was how it came to be that, three days later, Roxanne and James found themselves standing in Longbottom’s office being asked to explain why no less than four Slytherins were in the hospital wing following ill-advised attempts to locate the Philosopher’s Stone in the Devil’s Snare in greenhouse four.
“We didn’t tell them to go there,” James insisted.
“Then why do Mr. Zabini and Ms. Wilkes claim that you told them that the Philosopher’s Stone was hidden in my greenhouses?” Longbottom asked.
“Because they’re lying little snitches,” Roxanne muttered, too quietly for Longbottom to hear. James stepped on her foot, and she forced a smile onto her face.
“We were all just talking about the stone, because Professor Dorny mentioned in class,” James said earnestly. “I might have mentioned that my dad told me that Devil’s Snare was protecting it when he found it.”
“You are aware that the Stone was destroyed?”
“Of course.” Roxanne looked at him with wide eyes. “Who said that it wasn’t?”
Longbottom raised his eyebrows. “Mr. Zabini, Ms. Wilkes, and Mr. Bradley all seemed to have that impression. Ms. Kelleen has refused to tell us why she was in the greenhouse, but I can’t imagine what other reason she would have.”
Roxanne felt a brief rush of gratitude toward Edith, who clearly understood how these things were supposed to work. If you were stupid enough to fall for a trick, it was no fair tattling to a professor.
“We definitely didn’t tell them to go in the greenhouse, sir,” James said earnestly. “I swear.”
“I believe you, Mr. Potter.” Longbottom leaned forward. “However, you did give them…” He paused for a moment as he tried to find the right term. “… misleading information that led them to the greenhouses in the first place.”
“Does that mean you’re giving us a detention?” Roxanne asked.
Longbottom nodded. “Ten points from Gryffindor, and you will both spend tomorrow evening helping me restore my greenhouse to its original state.”
Roxanne and James looked at each other and sighed. They needed to get better at not being caught.
A/N: This chapter was written for JRose16's "Things I Am Not Allowed to Do At Hogwarts" Challenge. The list was originally compiled by atlantapendrag on livejournal, and the challenge creator found the lists at kupika by Demonic_angel.
My prompt was, "The Sorceror's stone is destroyed, and even though they are annoying, first year Slytherins should not be told it's still down there, as they all want immortality, and the Devil's Snare gets them every time."
Thank you for reading! If you have a moment, I would really appreciate a review. :)
Next up: What on earth possessed Roxanne and James to steal a bludger?
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