Chapter 20 : Two Peculiar Subjects
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“I found it!” he told Rose, who was sitting by the desk with the book, parchment, and ink, copying down the ingredients. David and Art were both sitting next to her, waiting for Rose to finish.
“Excellent,” she said, taking it from Albus. “We can examine it after I’ve finished copying this stuff down.”
“I probably need to stuff everything back under my bed,” Albus said, groaning at the thought.
“I can help, if you’d like,” Art said, standing up from the table.
“Thanks,” Albus said, grinning. Art shrugged this off.
“No problem. I’m just sitting here doing nothing, anyway.”
With the help of Art, Albus managed to get all of his things stuffed into his trunk, and back underneath his bed. The handle wouldn’t close, but Albus didn’t really care. He would need to repack it all at the end of the year, anyway.
“Done,” Rose said, upon Albus and Art’s arrival in the common room. “David is looking in the student cupboard with the copy of the list.”
“I’ll go help,” Art said, and hurried out of the room.
“Now, let’s examine this,” Rose said. She aligned invisible poison instructions next to the pamphlet, side by side. Rose and Albus then proceeded to examine both the pamphlet and the ingredients on the potion instructions, looking for similarities.
They circled the ingredients that were in both the potion and the pamphlet, so Albus could order them. After they finished, David and Art came back and reported what ingredients they had found. Between the two lists, they managed to construct a list on what Albus had to order from the Apothecary, what they could get from the student cupboard (which was very few) and what ingredients they could not access. They only needed to “borrow” ten ingredients from Fawley’s storage.
Rose disappeared up into her dormitory for a few minutes, and reappeared downstairs with a small bag of galleons. She fished through it, counted it, and then pulled out some and handed it to Albus.
“Put these in the envelope too,” Rose said. Albus opened his mouth to protest- they should all have to pay, not just her- but before he could she butted in.
“I think I have the most money out of all of us, anyway,” Rose said. “I spend my money wisely, and this is much more important than getting a new book or something.
Albus took the form, money, and envelope, and then headed up to the Owlery. He felt a ripple of anger when he saw Filch, but a spark of joy when he saw Godric, his small grey owl.
“Ordering dungbombs?” Filch said eagerly.
“No,” Albus told him, and then showed him the envelope. Rumor had it that over the years, Filch became more and more paranoid, convinced that every student’s goal was to make life difficult for Filch. For some students it was, but most just wanted to stay out of Filch’s way. Years and years as caretaker had taken its toll on Mr. Argus Filch.
Albus patted the beak of Godric, who eagerly hooted at the envelope in Albus’s hand. After a grin from Albus, Godric set off from the owlery swooping over the hills, over the Forest, over the lake… Albus watched Godric until he disappeared. How wonderful it must be, to fly in the air, with not a care in the world…
Albus wandered back into the common room, where Rose was muttering at a table, and Art and David were lounging on a couch. Albus sat on the other end of the couch, as Rose got up from her chair.
“Let’s go to your dormitory,” she said, for Marc had now gone. David, meanwhile, groaned.
“Can’t I just fall asleep on this couch?” he murmured, and Albus had to agree. It was pretty cozy.
“Ugh, the dormitory has beds,” Rose said. “But you can’t fall asleep, we have to put our heads together!”
“Okay, okay,” Albus muttered, and all three of them stood up, and trudged up to the dormitory. Art had the most energy out of all of them, for he bounded up the spiraling stairs.
After plopping down on his bed, Rose began to talk.
“We have ten ingredients that we need to get. The best solution I can think of is to get them from Fawley’s storage. We just need to figure out how.”
“Didn’t Aunt Hermione sneak in there once?” Albus asked. “What did she do?” Rose snorted.
“I don’t remember, but if we ask her she is bound to be suspicious.”
“We can use Albus’s invisibility cloak,” Art suggested. Albus screwed up his face and thought.
“I think we need to make sure one of us won’t be noticed if we are missing. So basically, we need make some way of being excused from class, but then sneak back in under the cloak.”
“Well, we probably need to also distract Professor Fawley,” Albus said thoughtfully.
“Okay, Albus, you can do that,” David said hurriedly.
“What- what- how?” Albus sputtered.
“Just talk potions things with him,” David said. “You’re a brilliant potions student, the best in our year, so Fawley won’t be suspicious of you.” Albus felt himself blushing.
“Now, who should go under the invisibility cloak?” Rose said thoughtfully.
“Can I?” Albus said timidly. “It is my cloak.”
“Well, we need you to distract Fawley…” Rose muttered. “How about this: you get to choose which one of us uses the cloak.”
Albus gulped. How could he choose between his friends? He knew that none of them would take it badly, and it wasn’t like he was choosing which person he liked the most: just the one he trusted with the cloak.
“Um, not David,” Albus began. He was the person Albus trusted the least with the cloak, with his reckless personality.
“Thanks a lot,” David muttered sarcastically, but Albus knew he was fine with it. David never took anything too badly. David was the main definition of optimism.
Next, Albus had to choose between Art and Rose. This was a tough decision. Albus had known Rose his entire life. She was always there for Albus, and she knew how important the cloak was. Art seemed loyal, yet he did not realize the full uniqueness of the cloak, as everything wizard was amazing to Art. Plus, Albus had only known Art for a couple of months. Art was also with David when they lost it that other time.
“Rose, you should use the cloak,” Albus found himself saying. She blushed and grinned.
“Okay,” she said cheerfully. “Now, should we do so during class tomorrow?” she asked.
“We have Potions right after Defense, before lunch.”
“Tomorrow?” Albus asked hoarsely. It was easier just to talk about, rather than knowing they had to take action the following day.
Rose sighed. “Yes, there is no reason we shouldn’t. The quicker this all takes place, the better.”
“At least we have until tomorrow,” Albus said. “We have the entire day just to relax and play, since our homework is finished.” Albus privately added to himself that he had an entire afternoon to push everything dark and scary, like Zajecfer, from his mind. He refused to think about it.
“Anybody up for a game of gobstones?” Art asked.
The lovely peaceful afternoon passed way too quickly, and Monday morning approached: the day they were bluntly breaking the rules in a teacher’s classroom. First, however, they had Defense Against the Dark Arts.
Today in class, Professor Fuchs was having them work on Petrificus Totalus, the body-binding spell, some more. They had worked on it some last week as well. It was rather important, as it was going to be on their exams in June. They were with partners, trying to bind each other. Albus was paired with Art, as they both were not very good at spells.
“Petrificius Totalus!” Albus yelled, with no effect on Art in front of him. Professor Fuchs was making his rounds around the classroom, helping people who had trouble, and he saw Albus’s attempt.
“You’re saying the first part a little wrong,” Fuchs told him. “It’s Petrificus, not Petrificius. You’re adding an extra i between the c and the u. Try it again.”
“Petrificus Totalus!” Albus yelled. Still no prevail.
“You added extra emphasis on the part you messed up on before,” Professor Fuchs told him. You don’t need to do that. Keep trying.” After a moment, Professor Fuchs stroked his thin mustache and then said hesitantly, “Albus, can I see you after class? I’ll give you a note to give to Professor Fawley in Potions, which I believe you have next.” Albus, nodded, while inside he was screaming in protest. One, it was embarrassing to be asked to stay after class, even though he knew Fuchs meant well. Two, that meant they might not be able to get the potion ingredients today, which caused Albus to worry. That messed up their plans! However, he continued to nod, since who would say no to a teacher?
“Now, Art, let’s see you try,” Professor Fuchs said. Art always struggled at spells as well, but after a few attempts, he managed to lock all of Albus’s muscles, and he toppled to the floor.
“Excellent!” Professor Fuchs cried, as he performed the counter-curse. He then moved onto the next student. Albus tried a few more times on Art, without success. Albus looked jealously over his shoulder at Rose, who was already practicing the counter-curse, and was binding and un-binding her intelligent partner, Rob Kim.
At the end of class, Albus awkwardly dawdled behind as the rest of the class left. He hurriedly whispered to Rose that Professor Fuchs had requested that he stay behind.
“What should we do?” Rose whispered.
“Wait until I come,” Albus told her. “We have double potions today, so we have lots of time.”
The rest of the class left, and Albus stood, all packed up. He wondered what Professor Fuchs wanted them to do, and why he couldn’t just do it at the end of class. He hovered near the back of the room, while Professor Fuchs organized a few papers real quick. Albus had never been alone with a teacher before.
“Let me get something real quick, and then I’ll be right with you,” Professor Fuchs said, as he opened the door of a cupboard and shuffled some things around. Curious, Albus peered over Fuchs’s shoulder, looking to see what he was getting. Finally, Professor Fuchs pulled out a life-sized dummy out, tugging on it as he freed it from all the things in the cupboard. It was a basic white dummy, with no type of features at all.
“I’m going to have you practice on this,” Professor Fuchs explained. “If you practice on me, and you bind me, you won’t be able to de-bind me since you don’t know the counter-curse. So, you’ll get to bind a dummy instead.”
Albus nodded, absorbing what Fuchs had said. He seemed so confident that Albus was going to be able to bind this dummy. Al wasn’t so sure.
“Now, one thing I have noticed over the several months I’ve had you as a student, is that where you trip up on casting spells is the words. However, once you have this down, you cast the spell stronger than anybody else in the class.” Albus blushed at the compliment.
“So I am going to have you try something I’ve never tried with another student, but hopefully it will work. Draw your wand.” Albus pulled his wand out of his robes and nervously fumbled with it in between his fingers.
“What now?” Albus asked, keeping the tremble out of his voice.
“Think the words, Petrificus Totalus, but just think it. Repeat the words over and over inside your head. While you are doing this, picture the dummy binding together, from the body-binding spell.
“Now, keeping all of that in mind, point your wand at the dummy, picture yourself performing the curse, and forcefully think the words inside your head, and then the spell should come out for real. You may perform it whenever you are ready.”
Albus nodded. He composed himself for well over ten seconds, concentrating. Finally, he thought, staring at the dummy, his wand gripped in his hand, “Petrificus Totalus!”
Thinking seemed to do the trick. With astounding force, the dummy’s limbs snapped together, and it lay motionless on the floor. Not that it could move before, of course.
“Excellent!” Professor Fuchs shouted. He was clapping. “That seemed to do the trick! Because there was no longer any pronunciation problems, you did it perfectly! More than that, marvelously!” Professor Fuchs was grinning at the body-bound dummy. Albus, meanwhile stood there awkwardly. He was not used to this much praise. Fuchs did not seem to notice.
“Five points to Gryffindor! Splendid job,” he told Albus, strolling next to him. “Here’s your note,” Fuchs told him, slapping it into Albus’s tiny hand. “You can head on your way!” Albus stowed his wand back inside his pocket, grabbed his bags, and walked towards the exit of the door, feeling extremely confused. What had just happened?
His mind muddled, Albus arrived in Potions, gave Fawley his note, and started the Potion they were to make. David and Art were already started beside him, and Rose was further down the table. That was planned: It would look too suspicious if Rose disappeared right next to Professor Fawley.
“What did Fuchs want?” David hissed next to Albus. “You were gone nearly ten minutes.”
“He just wanted to help me extensively with the spell,” Albus said, the words flowing off his tongue smoothly. That was only the partial truth. Albus felt like it should remain secret. He didn’t know why, Fuchs did not tell him to, but for an unknown reason Al kept his mouth shut about the scenario.
Albus continued to brew his potion, stirring his ingredients and chopping up different things. They were making the Forgetfulness Potion today, which was unfortunately making everybody mess up on the potion, because the fumes made them forget sometimes what step they were on. Of course they had to do this potion on a day Albus had very important things to do. But it only was seriously affecting a few kids, as the first-year Gryffindors and Slytherins were only exposed to the fumes. Al managed to stay concentrated at his multiple tasks at hand.
Once he was nearly halfway done with the potion, Albus raised his hand and Professor Fawley strolled forward. Once he approached Albus, he saw, through his peripheral vision, Rose slip out of sight. None of the other students noticed either.
“Professor, am I doing this potion right?” Albus asked him. “I’m not sure, since the fumes are making me feel quite forgetful…” Albus’s voice dried up as he looked up at Professor Fawley, who was peering into Albus’s cauldron.
“You are making excellent progress,” Professor Fawley said. “And don’t worry about the fumes too much. They shouldn’t affect you too badly. I think the only reason it is affecting anybody at all is because twenty students are all making it at the same time.” Professor Fawley made motions to leave, and Albus’s mind spurred in panic. Rose wasn’t back yet, and Fawley couldn’t notice her missing. The other students wouldn’t care, or question it, but Fawley would.
“Oh, er, and Professor?” Albus asked, with only a faint idea of what he was planning to ask. “I, er, have a question about the potion in general.” Fawley’s excited potioneer mind leaned in to listen. “Er, how exactly do these ingredients cause forgetfulness? They are just ordinary ingredients, and don’t really cause forgetfulness, but together they do. It doesn’t make sense.”
“Ah,” Professor Fawley said. “You have a sharp mind, and are very observant. The ingredients become something totally different when combined in a certain manner, retaining little of their previous properties. Do you know anything of muggle chemistry?”
“No,” Albus said, alarmed at the question.
“Well, I suppose you wouldn’t,” Fawley said. “You really only learn about it in advanced potion classes. A pity, since the theories are closely related… Anyhow, two elements, sodium and chloride, are harmful when they are apart and an individual element. However, when they are chemically bound, they are completely changed and form perfectly harmless table salt. I’m no expert at muggle chemistry, as I was raised by a wizarding family, but that is some of what I learned when I was on the way to becoming a potioneer. Does that make sense?”
“Sort of,” Albus told him, as it did a little. It was a bit confusing, though, although some of it made sense. It didn’t help that he didn’t know the slightest bit about muggle chemistry.
“I’m always delighted to share my knowledge to eager learners!” Professor Fawley exclaimed. “It was a very good question, and you are welcome to ask me more questions anytime!”
“Thanks,” Albus said, as he stole a quick glance over at Rose’s cauldron. She still wasn’t back yet. What in the name of Merlin was taking her so long? And what was Albus supposed to distract Fawley with now? Al’s mind was blank.
“Sir,” Art spoke next to him, before Fawley could scan the room. “I think something went wrong with my potion.”
“Wrong indeed!” Fawley exclaimed, staring at the ugly mess of red goo in Art’s cauldron.
“Now let’s see… did you put in an overdose of mistletoe berries…?” As Professor Fawley was helping Art fix his potion, Albus felt a rush of gratitude towards Art. He had distracted Fawley some more for the time being.
When Fawley was nearly done fixing Art’s potion, Rose finally appeared next to her cauldron, and Fawley paced the room once again, never knowing that Rose had disappeared into his stores for a little while.
Once the bell rang, and the class departed the dungeon, safely out of Fawley’s earshot, Albus hurled at Rose, “What took you so long? I had a nice long conversation with Fawley, and you still weren’t done! We would have been toast if it wasn’t for Art.” Albus looked gratefully at Art, who was standing right next to Albus. “Thanks for that, by the way.”
“No problem,” Art said. “I needed Professor Fawley’s help with the potion anyway.”
“For your information, Albus, I was in there so long because I couldn’t find one of the ingredients,” Rose said angrily. Albus supposed he had been rather short with her, but it was just because he was previously near panic, and he pined it on Rose.
“What do you mean, you couldn’t find one of the ingredients?” David said. “I thought Fawley had practically all the ingredients!”
“Well, we aren’t making a common or normal potion,” Rose said. “I searched and searched, but I couldn’t find the demiguise hair. I guess since it isn’t normally used in potions, but in this one it is one of the most essential ingredients. We can’t substitute it for anything. Without it, the potion is doomed.”
If you've read this far, you probably know that I like depressing ends to chapters. :)
Please correct me if I'm wrong on anything about muggle chemistry; I only have a basic knowledge of that topic.
Thank you to ALL reviewers!
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