Chapter 5 : A Scent of Luscious Lavender
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Quietly, so she didn’t disturb the other fourteen girls who were still comfortably snoring in their beds, she tiptoed around the room, slipping on her knee-lengthened skirt and white buttoned blouse under the heavy weighting robe, which was embroidered with the Slytherin emblem.
With a gracious sway of her wand - 10¾ inches long, made from aspen wood and with a core of dragon heartstring- her tousled hair smoothed and flowed down her back like a silvery waterfall.
After she had finished her morning routine, she made her way up to the Great Hall, trying to suppress a yawn. Her eyes weren’t fully open yet, and the bright morning sun that was shining down from the enchanted ceiling made her squint even more.
Because of this ungodly time the hall was almost deserted, only a handful of scattered students sat in silence on the four heavy mahogany tables. Cassiopeia recognised a couple of students, but most of them she didn’t know. Looking down the empty Slytherin table in disbelief, she noticed that she was the only person in her entire house that was awake.
In a bad mood already – the earliness and the outlook on the dreaded tutoring lesson didn’t exactly brighten her spirits – she sat down on the bench, grabbing a bowl of cereal and starting to spoon it grimly. Why had her brother insisted that she tutored Potter? There were a lot of people in this castle who would’ve been a much better tutor, she was sure.
As she sat on the Slytherin table eating her cereal absorbed in thought, the heavy portal of the Great Hall flew open with a loud noise all of a sudden. In irritation, the girl looked up from her breakfast bowl, just in time to notice the whole Gryffindor Quidditch team swarm inside, filling the hall with their cheerful chatter and lively laughs.
Why do Gryffindors always have to make such noise?, Cassiopeia thought gloomily as she raised her hand half-heartedly at Scorpius, who waved at his sister and flashed her an encouraging smile.
Gulping down her breakfast as fast as she could, the Slytherin girl kept her eyes down, looking fixedly on the badly scratched surface of the table. She felt still too tired to endure this much noise and good mood already.
A few seconds later, she found herself on her way back to the Slytherin dormitory to pick up her books, before she would finally go to the library to await her dreaded tutoring lesson.
Cassiopeia had been sitting on the lonely table in the very last corner of the library for over half an hour with her legs neatly folded and her nose buried into her Defence Against the Dark Arts textbook. The particularly difficult chapter occupied all of her concentration, and so she was thankful for the absolute silence in the bibliotheca. As she read one passage for the third time, scribbling notes on the margin of the book, a dark shadow falling upon her caused the girl to look up.
“Oi”, Albus Potter greeted her eloquently, dropping his Potions book as well as several rolls of parchment on the antiquated table. Even though the last days of the late summer had passed already, his dark bronzed skin reminded Cassiopeia of the beautiful warm days at Malfoy Manor. Pushing his windswept hair out of his eyes, he let himself fall onto the chair next to hers. He looked like he had just stepped outside the Quidditch pitch, Cassiopeia thought.
The Slytherin rolled her eyes considering his manners –well, what did she expect from Potter, after all? - and snapped her Defence Against the Dark Arts book shut. “So glad you could make it”, she said sarcastically, looking first at her watch and then up at him with a forced smile.
He opened his book and answered: “Look, sorry I’m late, we had Quidditch practice. But can we get this over with quickly?” The petite girl raised a perfectly plucked eyebrow at his remark. “I don’t give an owl hoot about what exactly you’ve been doing, the next time you’re going to be on time. You need my help, not the other way around, remember?”
But Albus just shrugged his broad shoulders and slid the textbook in front of her. “So, you’re going to help me or what?” Cassiopeia groaned in agitation, but cast down her grey eyes onto the passage he had opened and began to read.
Amortentia is the most powerful love potion in existence. It causes a powerful infatuation or obsession from the drinker. It has a distinctive mother-of-pearl sheen, and steam rises from it in characteristic spirals. Amortentia smells different to each person, according to what attracts them.
She lifted her gaze from the page in disbelief, looking up at the tall boy with horror. “Love potions?”, she asked distastefully, narrowing her round eyes. Merlin, there was no way she was talking with Albus Potter about love- couldn’t they brew the Drought of the Living Dead instead?
He replied with a cocky smirk playing around the corners of his mouth. “Are you afraid you’ll fall in love with me, Malfoy?” The icy look Cassiopeia shot him pierced through his handsome face like daggers, but her sharp eye wasn’t able to cut the complacent grin from it. “As if that would ever happen”, she answered with dignity, but she didn’t bear to look at him as she said the words.
The next fifteen minutes passed rather peacefully. Cassiopeia let Albus explain everything he knew about the potion, questioning him further when his answer was too vague or correcting him when his answer was wrong altogether. Finally she looked up from the rather torn pages with a faint smile and announced: “I think you are ready for the practical part of this lesson.”
“I’m thrilled”, Albus said, collecting all of his belongings from the table as he rose from his chair, but his tone conveyed quite the opposite from the meaning of the words that had come out of his mouth. Without demeaning herself to an answer, Cassiopeia strode out of the library gracefully and without another look at the muscular boy she was tutoring.
Instead of following her at once, Albus caught himself looking at her slender figure making her way through the room. Not even the cumbersome robe that was part of their uniform could conceal the girl’s peculiar charm, he thought. Her fair hair shone like liquid silver as the morning sunlight fell onto it in soft rays and she moved with a feline elegance that made Cassiopeia appear as celestial as her first name implied.
With a shake of his head the spell Albus had been under vanished, and he was able to follow his tutor into the dungeons, where she was awaiting him already.
“Now, Potter, do you remember the ingredients we need to brew this potion?”, she questioned her student. Albus furrowed his brows as he tried to remember everything correctly, picking up the right ingredients one by one. “Very good”, Cassiopeia commended with a sincere smile as he was done.
They continued to brew the love potion in silence, the only noise that was heard was their breathing. It was rather cold in the dungeons even for the last days of September, and Cassiopeia was grateful for the warming Slytherin robe and the crackling fire in front of them. “What are you doing?”, she asked suddenly, her melodic voice echoing loudly through the tranquillity of the room.
Albus, who was pestling the moonstone, looked up from the mortar questioningly. “How is it possible to pestle the wrong way?”, he snorted and rolled his green eyes impatiently, putting down the vessel in front of him. Cassiopeia, who had tied her shimmery hair up into a high ponytail, frowned upon the question that Albus had the audacity to ask, as though it seemed quite obvious that there were many possibilities to pestle the wrong way.
“You’re just smashing it, you insensitive prick! We’re brewing a love potion, you have to be gentle with the ingredients, of course”, she snapped back at him. Shaking her head she took the mortar herself and began to grind the stone with the pestle. “Quidditch players, not one drop of sensitivity inside their whole body!”
They fell in silence once again and proceeded tacitly until the potion seemed to be ready. “Mother-of-pearl sheen, steam rises from it in characteristic spirals…”, Cassiopeia read the description in the Potions book aloud, eyeing the pearly potion inside the kettle and the thin vapour ascending from the shimmery surface. “It looks exactly how it should look, I suppose.”
“Looks good to me”, Albus said as he took a deep breath to inhale the seductive scent Amortentia was said to emit. The fair-haired girl leaned closer to the cauldron as well and asked curiously: “What do you smell, Potter?”
He furrowed his brows pensively, as he couldn’t quite make out the fragrance of the love potion himself. “I think I smell rain and the bristles of my broom, as well as something else… But it is really hard tell because of the cloud of your perfume that is pestering the whole room- did you bathe in it this morning? What is that, lavender?”
Cassiopeia crossed her arms in front of her body. “You’re one to speak! As if your shampoo wouldn’t be so intrusive as to mask the pleasant smell of the potion as well! The whole dungeon smells like your hair, I can hardly smell anything beside it, you idiot!”
Her grey eyes looked up belligerently into his green ones, and they stared at one another for a while as no one wanted to give in and look away. “It can’t be as bad as your poignant perfume, that’s for sure”, Albus insisted, still not taking his gaze off of the petite girl. Cassiopeia answered: “What are you talking about? I left my lavender perfume at home per accident and my parent’s haven’t sent it yet. I’m not wearing any perfume today!”
But the dark-haired boy wouldn’t hear any of it. “Don’t try to deny it, Malfoy, I can clearly smell that you put on too much of it this morning. But what are you talking about my shampoo, anyways? I haven’t even showered after the Quidditch practice.” His emerald eyes beamed triumphantly.
Cassiopeia, who had opened her mouth already to give a sharp reply, suddenly paused with her mouth open. Finally she said: “So you’re telling me you haven’t showered yet? Why is it that the scent of your freshly washed hair fills the entire room? And I swear to Merlin that I haven’t used any perfume today, so why do you insist that you can smell it after all?”
She let her gaze wander through the room, and as it fell on the bubbling potion on the fireplace at last, a faint noise of acknowledgement escaped her elegantly curved lips. Albus, who had been following her gaze, shook his head firmly as he laid eyes on the steaming liquid inside the kettle. “No”, he exclaimed, “this can’t be true! I can’t stand the smell of lavender because it always reminded me of you.”
Even in his ears, his excuses sounded weak, but there simply had to be another explanation. They both fell in silence once again, the only sound to be heard was the crackling of the fire and the seething of the love potion in front of them. “So to you the Amortentia smells like my hair?”, he asked finally, his cocky smile reappearing on his face. With amusement he watched a faint rose colour creeping on her cheeks as she turned to him with her eyes narrowed angrily.
“It smells like freshly washed hair, it doesn’t have to be particularly yours. I just assumed that because you’re the only person here with me”, she heard herself lie mechanically, but the words coming out of her mouth didn’t sound like her own. In her confusion, she wasn’t sure what to think of it, her whole body felt numb and her stomach tensed up inside of her body.
For the first time, she noticed how close they were: Faces turned to one another, only centimetres were dividing them. Cassiopeia had never noticed before how long his dark eyelashes were that framed his almond-shaped eyes. She could also make out thousands of small freckles covering his nose and cheeks, almost entirely hidden by the dark suntan he had obtained during the summer.
His windswept hair fell into his green eyes, and as he pushed it back with a smooth hand movement, she thought about how he only had to lean down a little for their lips to touch.
“Stop!”, Cassiopeia yelled suddenly, not knowing if she was addressing the handsome boy in front of her or rather herself. She crossed her arms to rebuild the distance that had always been between them and raised one eyebrow arrogantly. It was Potter she was thinking about after all, she reminded herself.
“I wasn’t doing anything”, Albus answered, confused about Cassiopeia’s erratic behaviour. But his tutor wouldn’t hear him out, she only said brusquely: “You’ll get a good grade on it. We’re done here for today.” And without another look back at him she stormed out of the dungeon, leaving behind a bewildered Albus Potter.
Gloomily, Cassiopeia had curled up on one of the dark leather sofas standing in the Slytherin common room, burying her face in her arms. Next to her, Melia Nott painted her toenails in a shimmery shade of emerald green, trying to interrogate her best friend about the very first tutoring lesson.
“Come on, Cassiopeia, you can’t tell me you just spent two hours with one of Hogwarts’s most desired boys without anything happening! I mean, he is handsome, famous and rich. What is wrong with you?”, Melia chirped in her shrill, demanding voice as she dipped the little brush inside of the small bottle.
Idelia Bletchley, who sat next to them in a high arm chair reading a book, rolled her eyes at the words of the brown-haired girl. “Let it go, Melia, we’re not all as man-hungry as you are”, she sighed and turned back to the pages in front of her. The brunette spun her head around, fixating Idelia with her brown eyes. “I’m not man-hungry”, she corrected matter-of-factly, “That’s not even a word. I’m just experimental. And with one of the best looking guys in the whole school I would be more than happy to experiment a little.”
At the last words of her friend, Cassiopeia groaned loudly. She now had Melia’s divided attention – the girl was still painting her nails- once again. “So something did happen?”, Melia questioned, raising one of her plucked eyebrows. “I want to know everything, every little detail. Now!”
Cassiopeia lifted her head and said shortly: “We brewed a potion together. That’s all that has happened.” But Melia still wasn’t satisfied. “Well, what potion was it? For Merlin’s sake, why do I have to worm everything out of you?”, she asked, examining her painted toenails critically. Pleased with herself, she screwed the lid of the polish onto the bottle.
“Fine”, Cassiopeia finally gave in, “It was Amortentia. We brewed it and it was a good potion, so I left. Nothing happened.” She lifted her head and smiled weakly at her best friend. “I’m just tired, Melia, that’s all.” Still not fully convinced, the brunette shrugged. “If you say so”, she answered with her eyebrow still raised.
Suddenly, a warm smile appeared on Melia’s pretty face. “But next Saturday you have a lot of time to admire what you missed today at the Quidditch game”, she said. “At least, that’s what I’m going to do: Admire what you missed, that is. I’ve always had a thing for team captains.” Idealia, still trying to concentrate on her book, rolled her eyes again at Melia’s remark. “You have a thing for everybody”, she teased her friend. Melia opened her mouth to reply indignantly.
Cassiopeia let herself fall back onto the sofa, ignoring her bickering friends. Secretly, she was thankful for the change of subject Idelia had caused unconsciously. She stared at the dungeon ceiling, trying to reflect the occurrences from earlier. What exactly had happened?
Nothing, she convinced herself. And anyways, even if she did like him-which she definitely, absolutely didn’t- he still had a girlfriend. So what, the most powerful of all love potion had smelled like Potter’s hair. That didn’t necessarily mean anything, she was sure.
“Dude, calm down. What’s wrong with you anyways?” Scorpius glared at his best friend who was pacing through the seventh year boys dormitory in the Gryffindor tower. The silver-haired guy sat on his large four-poster and bent over his opened Potions textbook, studying the writing intently. He sighed, then looked longingly at the little vial on Albus’s night stand. “I wish I’d done my homework already. This potion is very advanced, man”, he said.
Albus stopped in his tracks and turned around to his best friend. “The potion is a curse, Scorp”, he said darkly and crossed his arms in front of his body. “It seems so innocent at first, when it really shows you what you want but can’t have. I wish I’d never smelled this stupid thing.”
Scorpius pushed his book aside and sat up straight, looking at his best friend with a worried expression. “Al, that sounds pretty bad. What’s happened?” Instead of giving his friend an answer, Albus tossed him the phial that contained the Amortentia. “Open it and inhale its scent. You’ll see for yourself”, he said.
With hesitation, but not without curiosity, Scorpius opened the lid of the small bottle his friend had thrown at him. At once, the tantalising smell of the potion ascended from the flask and diffused quickly into the air, filling the whole room. He took a deep breath, and the rich odour left him speechless for a while. “This smell is out of this world!”, Scorpius exclaimed. He inhaled for a second time.
“It smells like so many different things, I can’t even name them all. Mum’s freshly baked bread, peppermint, cut grass, the ocean… They all smell great, but together they are just phenomenal!” He looked up at his friend again and smiled encouragingly. “I know now what you mean, Al. It makes one almost sad, it feels like I will never smell something as good as this, if that makes sense. Every other scent seems just so unimportant.”
He closed the vial again, and as suddenly as the smell had arisen, it vanished. Scorpius sniffed softly, but not even the slightest bit of the tantalising fragrance lingered behind in the room. It was as though a spell had lain on him, but now, as the scent was gone, he could think clearly again.
“That was intense, mate”, he said to Albus, who nodded in agreement. As they didn’t really know how to put their experience into words, they kept silent for a while.
Finally Scorpius said: “Al, you haven’t told me what the potion smells like for you.” Albus didn’t quite look at his friend as he replied. “Lavender”, he answered curtly with a pained smile on his handsome face.
“I’d never guessed that, mate, and I thought I knew you well”, Scorpius laughed. “Thought something with Quidditch or stuff like that, not something like flowers. My sister is crazy about that stuff as well, you know. She pours lavender perfume all over herself, I bet you noticed. It smells really intense.”
“No”, Albus said. “I had no idea.”
A/N: Hello, my lovelies!
Finally I was able to put up a new chapter! I'm really sorry you had to wait so long- I have a lot of exams to take, so I'm very thankful for your patience.
I hope you're still with me, after all this time!
What do you think about this chapter? Feel free to leave a comment and tell me. I've seen that quite a few people have read my story, and I wanted to thank you very much. I appreciate every single one of you guys.
Lots of love- wanderlust xxx
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