The following morning, Dulcie awoke earlier than normal and it took her a few moments to remember why her bedding was scarlet and gold instead of the yellow and black that she had grown accustom to. Once dressed, she went to get some breakfast. She made her way to the Great Hall, where she took a seat next to Lorcan at the Gryffindor table and helped herself to some porridge and toast.
Lorcan knew that Dulcie was still quite upset from the previous day’s events, so he did his best to make her laugh and keep her mind off such things, “Dulcie since you were a Hufflepuff, does that mean you are good at sandwich making now?” Lorcan asked, trying to get a rise out of her.
Playfully, she punched his shoulder and said, “That’s not funny,” while she tried to hide her grin.
“I’m just fooling,” he replied.
“Is this seat taken?” Joshua, the boy from her Herbology class, asked. Dulcie and Lorcan had not even noticed him walk towards them.
“No, have a seat Joshua,” Dulcie replied.
Joshua sat down. “Thanks, but you can call me Joshie, everyone calls me that,” he said.
“Oh that reminds me, my father is supposed to be back, so we should have Potions today,” Dulcie stated. Her father had taken leave for the first few weeks of term, but didn’t tell her why.
“You mean double Potions. Ugh and with the Slytherins. Hopefully it will go by fast; I want to get on to more Flying Lessons.” Joshie replied.
“Me too,” Lorcan added.
Dulcie groaned, she did not want to get on another broom, but it seemed unlikely that she could fake an illness for a fourth week in a row. “I suppose I can’t put it off anymore.”
Lorcan chuckled to then said, “It’s about time, just don’t go disappearing on us today.”
“Ha Ha. Very Funny,” she said, “Not.”
Joshie didn’t get it what was so funny, so he asked them about it.
“On Dulcie’s birthday, she had her first flying lesson on a broom she got as a present,” Lorcan went on to tell the whole story, with some slight exaggerations, “Yeah and then out of nowhere, this huge red dragon appeared and it scared Dulcie so bad she went poof. Next thing I know, she’s landed on top of Lysander and me; I had a bloody nose and Lysander had a gash on his head.”
“Woah! Sounds awesome!” Joshie exclaimed.
“Hold on, back up. That is not what happened! It was a bird, not a dragon and you had a tiny little scratch on your nose, and Lysander’s ‘gash’ was a little cut on his forehead,” Dulcie replied.
“But you did apparate though?” Joshie asked.
“Yeah that bit is true.”
“Wicked,” he replied.
They finished their breakfast, and after a few more laughs, they walked to potions class in high spirits. However, upon reaching their destination, Dulcie’s spirits sank a bit remembering that Potions class was with the Slytherins. Dulcie knew that Lucinda and her cronies couldn’t bother her here since her father taught this class; any student would be mad to start a fight with her here. Lorcan and Joshie saved her a seat at their table while Dulcie went to her father’s office.
“Good Morning, Dad or um—do I call you Professor?” she asked as she reached for something in her bag. “Here I brought this for you,” she said as she handed him a perfectly delicious looking green apple.
“Thank you, Good Morning, and ‘professor’ in front of other students.” he replied, “Just what I needed, I forgot to get breakfast this morning,” he added as he took a few bites of the apple.
“You’re welcome, Mum suggested I bring you something to class. She says you always forget to eat when you’re working.”
“She’s right,” he said with a laugh. A few moments later, after tossing his apple core in the bin he started going through a cabinet next to his desk. He pulled out some flobberworm mucus and said, “Can you grab some lavender and valerian sprigs out of the cupboard. Get enough for 5 measures each per student. We’re going to make Sleeping Draught today. Are you excited about your first potions class?”
“Dad, I you have been teaching me potions since I was four. I am pretty sure I could do ever potion you teach from now to year 3,” Dulcie replied. This was true, Draco knew that for certain. With Dulcie not presenting any magical abilities, the only thing Draco could really teach her was Potions. She was thankful for it, as her marks in History of Magic and Astronomy were not that great.
He went to the front of the class and began writing the instructions for Sleeping Draught on the board. After that, he went to the front of the class to begin a small lecture. “Welcome class, to Potions, I know it’s Friday, and no one ever really loved Double Potions on a Friday, but it’s only for the next few weeks to catch up on the first three classes we missed. Contrary to popular belief, no I was not in Azkaban for forcing a student to drink their failed attempt at Draught of the Living Death. I had some personal business to attend to, but now I am back and class will go on.”
In truth, Draco had been working at the Ministry, to get some information about Professor Trelawney’s prophecy about Dulcie. He had also met with all the best Seers and Soothsayers, but no one had anything more to add to what he already knew, which was not very much. So he came back to teach, leaving Hermione to do the further researching. McGonagall was not pleased with this three week absence, but with his excellent teaching record, she was willing to give him certain allowances.
“We will try to have some fun, but make no mistake, you will do the work I assign, or I will see you in detention. You needn’t worry about foolish wand waving or spells here; just do as you are told, when you are told to do it. This term we will cover Sleeping Draught, which we are doing today, as well as Forgetfulness Potions and a Potion to Cure Boils, among a few others, and before anyone asks, I will not teach you how to brew Love Potion, Felix Felicis or Veritiserim. Nor will I tell you where to find how to do it, some potions do not belong in the hands of children. As for the potions we make in this class, I suggest you take good notes. Every potion we cover will be on your final exam. Questions?” Draco finished his start of term speech and noticed a few hands in the air. “Yes, you in the back row.”
“Is it true that you make us try our potions at the end of class? One of the 4th years said you do.” the student asked.
“Gods no. One tiny error on your part, could land you in the hospital wing, or in the dirt if you mess up bad enough. Just ask Professor Longbottom about some of his first year potions. Think he melted more than a few cauldrons in his day.” Draco knew that he probably shouldn’t have said that to his students, but Neville had a few stories he could tell about Draco in Herbology, or worse Care of Magical Creatures.
“Do we get in trouble if we melt a cauldron?” a girl at the table next Lorcan’s asked.
“Let’s not find out,” Draco replied. Draco answered a few more questions until he had everyone split into pairs. Lorcan and Dulcie partnered up.
Dulcie finished passing out the ingredients and sat at her table. She had been sitting there for only a few moments when she realized, Lucinda was not in this class. She smiled to herself at this small victory. Eredith was in this class, but that was a tiny price to pay for a Friday class without Lucinda Ashburton. Dulcie thought maybe she could get lucky and Lucinda wouldn’t be at their flying lesson either.
“Can you add two measures of the flobberworm mucus to the cauldron while I grind the lavender?” Dulcie asked Lorcan who was looking at the instructions as if they were written in ancient runes.
“It says to put the lavender in first then the mucus,” he replied, pointing at the instructions.
“That’s ok, as long as both go in before we turn on the heat,” she stated grinding the lavender.
“Oh, how hot does it have to be?” he asked. “The instructions say medium heat, but I don’t know how to gauge that.”
“I’ll show you,” Dulcie said, adding the lavender to the mortor.
The next hour passed with only a few minor incidents; the worst being that girl at the next table, melting her cauldron and singeing her eyebrows in the process.
“Daft girl, the instructions say medium heat, and they clearly direct you to put the valerian sprigs in at the end,” Draco would have gone on to tell her how much of an imbecile she was, but her eyes started tearing up. “Just clean this up and go owl home for a new one. Next time follow the directions,” he said and the girl went about cleaning her mess. When the girl left the room, Draco returned to the front of the room, “It is very important that you follow instructions. Some errors can be harmless while others can emit poisonous vapors. I do not want to see another melted cauldron. I will be in my office, it’s through that door,” Draco said pointing toward his office, “If anyone has any questions, ask another student, or come get me. You all have fifty minutes left to have a bottled portion of Sleeping Draught on my desk. Don’t forget to label which one is yours.”
Once Draco was in his office, several students started whispering to each other. “Do you think that she choose to stay in Gryffindor?” One boy asked.
“I don’t know my bet is she will choose to be a Slytherin like her dad,” another girl replied.
“Not if she knows what’s good for her,” Eredith said, not even looking up from her cauldron.
“Oh she does speak. My bad, I didn’t know that Lucinda had given you permission to,” Lorcan replied coolly. He, like his brother, would stand up for Dulcie no matter what.
“I can speak whenever I want to. Lucinda does not control me,” Eredith replied.
“Eredith who are you trying to fool? I bet you haven’t had one original thought since you met Lucinda,” Lorcan replied.
“Just stop, Lorcan. Don’t be like them. They are bullies, we aren’t,” Dulcie whispered.
“Do Not Call Me Eredith. That is an awful name,” Eredith said through gritted teeth, “My name is Edy.”
“Ok then, Edy. Doesn’t so much matter what we call you, but you tell your mate to leave Dulcie alone, or next time I’ll be the one doing the smacking and that goes for you as well,” Lorcan finished and went back to his potion, leaving Edy with a stunned look on her face.
“No one will be doing any smacking while I am around,” Draco had heard the fuss, and came to investigate. No one had informed him of anything that had happened in the last few days, but the talk of violence made him wonder, “Dulcie, is your potion finished?”
“Almost, we have another 8 minutes before the next step,” she replied.
“Lorcan you finish it, Dulcie come with me,” Draco went back to his office with Dulcie not far behind. Once inside, he closed the door. “Care to let me in on the trouble you have been up to?”
“I haven’t started any trouble,” she started.
But before she could finish, “Then what did Lorcan mean by ‘he will be the one doing the smacking’? What is going on?”
“Mum didn’t tell you?” Draco shook his head, Dulcie didn’t really know which part to begin with so she started with, “Remember that family that was there when I got my wand?”
“Yes, the Ashburtons, right?”
“Yes them, well their daughter is Lucinda, and she hates me…” Dulcie went on to tell Draco all about Lucinda’s hair, Kiev, the Diary, her upcoming detention and when she was finished she took a deep breath after having said all that so fast, it took Draco a moment to take it all in.
“ ‘Really really cute’ did I miss the point where boys no longer had cooties?” Draco prided himself on feeling young for his age, but this conversation made him feel old. He remembered not long ago when she was learning to say ‘dada’.
“That is what you got from all of that? I hit a girl, and got detention for a week, but your worry is boys?” Dulcie rolled her eyes, slightly annoyed at her father’s response.
“You have already been punished for hitting the girl and from what I have heard the brat deserved it. However, that is still not an excuse to do that, so I am taking away your pocket money.”
“For how long?” she asked.
“Halloween sounds good for me,” he responded.
“Dad Halloween is in a month. I need my pocket money. Can’t you just ground me?”
“It wouldn’t be called a punishment if you were allowed to choose,” he replied.
Dulcie tried to object to this added punishment, but there was no letting up, “Might as well dye my hair red and call me a Weasley,” she said under her breath, and immediately covered her mouth, regretting what had just come out of it. Dulcie did not usually care about money, unless she didn’t have any and with Christmas coming up, she had to save her sickles to buy gifts.
Embarrassed by her vocal slip, Dulcie left the office to finish her potion, leaving her dad shocked at what she had just said. After a moment, he just laughed thinking at her age, he might have said the same thing.
Alone in his office, Draco used the fireplace to contact his wife.
“Hey honey, how are classes going?” Hermione asked.
“Pretty well I just spoke to Dulcie,” he said.
“I got Minerva’s letter this morning. Is it true? Dulcie hit that girl?”
“Yeah she did, but it’s a really long story. If I were Dulcie, I would have hit her too. Just don’t tell her that,” Draco said with a laugh.
“What do you mean?” she asked.
Draco told Hermione everything that Dulcie had told him. When he was finished he added, “I also took away her pocket money until Halloween.”
“I think a week of detention, and losing her pocket money, is a bit much. I mean that other girl clearly has been provoking her since before term started.”
“I might give it back to her sooner, with a lecture on how to not get caught retaliating against a bully.”
“Or a lecture on just not doing it,” Hermione laughed and began telling Draco of her week at the book store. Meanwhile, in the classroom, Dulcie was putting the cork on her potion when Eredith, Edy, came up to her table.
“Can I help you with something?” Dulcie asked.
“I just thought you ought to know, Kiev did not give Lucy your diary. She took it from his bag when he was at Quidditch tryouts. She was looking for more of his drawings of you,” Edy said.
“And why are you telling me this?” Dulcie asked.
“Because I am not Lucy’s sidekick and sometimes I do disagree with the things she does.”
“Thank you.” Dulcie was somewhat shocked at what Edy was telling her.
“And just so we are clear, we are not friends,” Edy said as she walked past Dulcie’s table to put her potion vial on Draco’s desk.
Dulcie thought that even if they weren’t friends, at least Edy wasn’t like Lucinda. That, Dulcie could handle as she felt a bit of weight lift off her shoulders.
Leaving to go meet the twins for lunch, a thought suddenly came to her. What was she going to say to Kiev? Would he even speak to her after the way she treated him? Dulcie decided that she needed to speak to him as soon as she could, and went to go look for him. Maybe he would accept her apology.
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