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The potions part in this chapter, with the Draught of Death, is semi-taken from Half Blood Prince. This is the story of how the Half Blood Prince discovered how to manipulate his potion to make it perfect…
 



Alex awoke with a yawn the next morning. She looked at her clock and was not at all surprised to see she still had at least three hours before classes started. She always got up early, and being as nervous and excited as she was for her first day didn’t help at all. So sitting up and pulling her bedside curtains back, she looked around her dorm. The bed next to hers (which belonged to Lily) was already empty, while the other two were still occupied. She raked her memory trying to remember their names, but drew a complete blank, possibly because they only stared at me last night and didn’t say anything, she thought rather wryly, remembering their reaction upon seeing her enter the dorm room. After a second of guilt for forgetting their names, she shrugged it off and headed towards the lavatory. 



Once washed and changed into her school uniform, she grabbed her book bag and went down to the common room. She paused at the bottom to properly admire her new home, as last night it was full of her housemates, who were either trying to sneak inconspicuous glances at her, or being point blank and staring at her.


“Alexandria?” a voice called out timidly from near the fire.


An involuntary shudder ran through Alex as she made her way towards the voice. “Please, Lily. Just call me Alex."


Lily nodded. “You’re up early.”


Alex shrugged as she sat down in a chair opposite from her. “Can’t help it. What about you, morning person too?”


Lily only nodded again, as she looked anywhere but at Alex. A small silence overcame the two of them, until Alex finally broke it, eventhough she wasn't really sure what she was saying.   “Look, Lily, I’m sorry for yelling at you yesterday on the train. I didn’t mean to blow up like that, and I just wanted to apologize if I…er… offended or upset you, or if you’re disappointed in me or something like that.”


Lily’s head snapped up and finally met Alex’s gaze. “No not disappointed. Mostly I was just confused. I mean, one day you’re off at some formal opening of parliament and the next you’re sitting on the Hogwarts express.” She paused for a bit, hesitating, and then continued, “But I thought about it, and all in all I’m glad you’re here…and I’m sorry for being so blunt yesterday and upsetting you.”


Alex smiled and stretched out her arm, “Right then, so we’re all good?”


"For sure,” Lily replied shaking her hand.


“Good, because Remus was saying something about bribing you with a private audience with my brother,” Alex said with a laugh.


“He didn’t!"


“Yeah he did. But honestly, I’m glad it turned out like this, because Darcy and I aren’t on the best of terms right now. Don’t worry though; as soon as we patch things up I’ll let you know when and where.”


Lily blushed, but laughed it off, “Yeah you better.” A loud noise sounded from the boys’ dormitory followed by a series of muffled yells. “We better get down and get some breakfast before those boys come down.”


“Sounds good to me,” Alex said standing up and following Lily out the portrait hole.


***


“Good morning! And welcome to your 7th year advanced potion making class,” Professor Slughorn boomed and smiled at the 10 students sitting in front of him, who, with the exception of one, looked positively disheartened at having double potions first thing in the morning- Alex included. “I am delighted to see so many of you back in my class. Today we will start with a review potion: Draught of Living Death.”


Alex groaned as the instructions appeared on the board with a flick of his wand. All in all, potions was one of her best subjects and she liked it… but not enough to be delighted at the prospect of it first thing, double period, right on the first day. Sitting beside her, Lily was beaming, hardly able to contain her excitement and drinking in every single word Slughorn said like pumpkin juice. Alex risked a glance behind her to see Sirius and James, who both looked like they were still trying to wake up, and Remus and a boy from Ravenclaw behind them, who though a bit more attentive, were also struggling to stay awake. The rest of the 10 students compromised of 3 Slytherins (2 boys and 1 girl) and 1 completely terrified Hufflepuff girl, all of whom were looking at her from the corners of their eyes.


“SO!” Slughorn exclaimed, making Alex jump in her seat, “You all know what to do, but this time you will be making the potion as a pair, and the pair with the best result will win a surprise. Every once in a while you will be required to work with your partner on such an assignment. But before we start, I would like to mix up the pairs- these will be your pairs for the first term, or until I see fit to change them again. Now, lets see…Yes, lets have our head prefects working together- Miss Evans and Mr. Lupin, right up here if you please.”


Alex was forced to move her stuff and take Remus’ place for the time being, while 
Slughorn made the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw move to the second row up front, on one side of Lily and Remus, who sat in the middle in the very first row. “Now… how about Mr. Malfoy, and Miss Black, on the other side if you will.” Two of the Slytherins, the girl, and the tall blonde haired boy (who both looked utterly menacing) gathered up their belongings, and grudgingly moved to the second row, on the other side of Lily and Remus. Meanwhile, Slughorn continued, “So that leaves us with… ahhh.”


He stopped, and seemed to debate for a long time what would be best, and Alex could tell there was some very bad history between James, Sirius and the other boy (who Alex recognized as the one from the train station), by the very tense atmosphere, not to mention the dirty looks exchanged between the three of them. 


“Severus…could you, perhaps…work with…” Slughorn started, though still clearly as confused as he was before. Alex looked at him, at the Severus boy, and then at her two housemates. She slightly raised her hand. “Yes, Miss Edwards?”


"Alex, please,” she said with what she hoped to be her most charming and sweet smile. “Professor, I could work with Severus.”


“Oh?” Slughorn asked in disbelief, knowing that Gryffindor/Slytherin relations were less than friendly. But he quickly changed his tone, as he realized that the bigger problem- placing one of those two with Severus- had been solved. He did not, however, nor did Alex, notice James’ and Sirius’ expressions at Alex’s statement. “Well of course you can. Right then, lets have you two here, and Potter and Black can go over there. Good.”


Severus Snape headed over to her desk- third row centre- still looking like he had before, while James and Sirius moved behind them on the side of the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw. The overall effect was a staggered arrangement, leaving enough room for everybody. Snape dropped his stuff on the table and sat down. Alex sent him a small smile but doubted he would see it, much less return it. With a small sigh, she turned her attention back to Slughorn.


“Alright, you have one and a half hours to complete this potion. Further instructions in your textbooks on page 10. Ingredients are in the cupboard, and…GO!”


Alex was about to get up and get the ingredients, but her partner had already went to get them. So she took out her wand to ignite the fire below their cauldron, but realized that he had already done that as well. She looked over and was surprised to see him coming back already, his arms full of stuff. He placed them carefully on his side of the desk, and immediately started adding things to the cauldron, totally ignoring his new partner.


Alex folded her arms across her chest, “You planning on do this whole thing yourself, partner?"


“I work alone” he said, without even so much as a glance in her direction.


“Funny. I was under the impression that working in pairs meant together, not alone,” Alex shot back.


“Yeah, that is funny. Because I was under the impression that princesses don’t come to Hogwarts.  I guess we’re both wrong.”


“Oh I see. You’re intimidated by me, and of course, seeing as I am royalty, have decided to do everything for me.” Alex saw him turn red with anger, but restrain himself and continue to work on the potion. So leaning back in her chair and putting her feet up on the table, she continued, “Well in that case, watch yourself on those Mandrake roots,  I don’t want you to get injured now—Merlin forbid I would have to do that myself. Actually, you’re going about it all wrong. If you don’t watch yourself this potion will be way below my standards, not to mention Slughorn’s, who will no doubt be disappointed. But then, seeing as your doing it all by yourself, the blame will lie with you, so-” 


But Severus interrupted her, evidently annoyed. Throwing her some Sopophorous Beans, he barely managed to say through tight lips “Chop these up then.”


Alex merely smirked at her effective strategy and got to work, but instead of chopping them up like requested, she took her silver knife and started to crush them with the blunt end.


“What the bloody hell do you think you are doing? You are, like I predicted, messing up our potion!” Snape yelled at her, only seeing her smile that blasted smile of hers, and continue to crush them. She then quickly scooped them up, juice and all, and before he could even try to stop her, she dropped them into the cauldron.


He was about to completely lose his head, but then he saw the potion change to the exact shade of lilac the textbook had described. He looked at her incredulously- he had never been able to achieve that colour, and he brewed this potion many times before.


“Stop gaping, Severus. We need to add those mandrake roots now,” Alex said, smirking at his reaction, and now thoroughly enjoying the lesson.   He quickly added them while Alex started to stir counter-clockwise. Once all the mandrake roots were added, she quickly made one stir clockwise and then back to counter-clockwise, making their potion turn a pale pink. She glanced at her partner, who was now completely bewildered.


She only chuckled and continued to stir, adding a clockwise stir after every 7th counter-clockwise stir. Severus continued to watch in amazement as the potion slowly turned more and more clear, just as the book described.  He looked around to find the other cauldrons full of a purple-pink potion, not unlike his usual result. But what annoyed him most was Alex- just sitting there and stirring, softly humming to herself. How did she know to do that? Even I didn’t know that, and I am supposed to be the best potion-maker at school.


“And times up!” Slughorn announced from the front of the class. “Wand’s down please!”


He began to wander the room, checking the potions, making some comments as he went along. He was last to arrive at Alex’s and Severus’ table. When he did, he clapped his hands and exclaimed, “Yes, the winner! The best Draught of Living Death I have ever seen produced by a student yet! Congratulations, you two!”


Alex smiled, and Severus only gave a slight nod as the rest of the class watched Slughorn display their perfect potion.


“Now, as for the prize, you two are both excused from the essay due by the end of the week on this potion. For the rest of you, I expect a 3½ foot essay on its preparation, uses and effects. Clear up!"


They started to clean up, and Alex turned to Severus, “You’re welcome."


"For?” he drawled.


“For winning us the prize- I bet if I hadn’t worked my magic Lily’s and Remus’ would have won. Theirs was pretty close, you know.”


“Crushing beans and adding a clockwise stir? Some magic,” he said, but already a little more lightly than before.


She only smirked again, “I didn’t see you complaining before. Though like I said, if I had let you do it yourself, it would have been way below my standards. Well Sev, it’s been fun. I’ll talk to you later.”


And with that she turned on her heel, leaving him standing there speechless. He turned around and quickly took out his potions textbook, opened it up to page ten, and added Alex’s embellishments. He packed up his stuff, but was met with two less than enthusiastic faces looking down on him.


“So, Snivelly, how was potions?” said James.


"Not too good I think, since Alex had to save his sorry arse,” Sirius added.


“Jealous, are we, Black? That she got to save mine instead of yours?” Snape replied coldly, “or perhaps that she chose me over you in the first place?”


“No not at all, she clearly chose you out of pity.”


Snape flushed but did not back down, “Don't bother, Black.  We all know that's just what you tell yourself for fear of being rejected.  Noticed she was having a good time?”


Sirius took a step forward, “You just stay away from her, Snivelly. She’s out of your league.”


“Ha. As opposed to you?”


Sirius took another step forward, but his reply was interrupted by Slughorn who told them to get out or get detention. So Sirius and James headed towards the Gryffindor dorm, but as soon as Sirius spotted Alex, he veered off course and made a beeline for her.


“OI! Edwards! Just what do you think you are doing?” he practically yelled at her, taking her aside.


“Well, I was walking towards my next class…” Alex joked.


“You know what I mean.”


“What do you think, then? Obviously I was saving you or James from being paired with him, because there is clearly some bad blood between you three. I thought you would be more grateful for being paired with your best bud.”


“I am, but what good is that when I see you over there all buddy-buddy with Snivellus and-”


“His name is Severus,” Alex said automatically.


“SEE! This is what I mean!” Sirius yelled in frustration, “On a first name basis now?”


“You’re making a big deal out of nothing. We’re on first name basis too, aren’t we, Sirius?” Alex replied.


“Fine. Call him whatever, just don’t be friends with him,” he said.


“Excuse me?” Alex asked in indignation. “Please tell me you aren’t picking my friends for me, because you have no right to do that.”


“He’s in Slytherin, Alex! You’re new here so you probably don’t understand, but Slytherins are bad news.”


Alex sighed, “Look, I need to get going or else I’ll be late for Arithmancy. I’ll talk to you later.”


And before he could even breathe another word, she had already walked away. Sirius shook his head, and headed back towards James, who was sitting in the corridor waiting for him.


"You alright, Padfoot?”


“Prongs, I think its time to actually start off our year.”


James grinned mischievously, “Best idea I’ve heard all morning. What, or should I say, whom, do you have in mind?”


To which Sirius only smirked back, a devilish gleam in his eyes. 



 



Author’s Note: Hey guys!
So, here it is.  Hope you guys liked it, I know I had a lot of fun writing it.
Thanks to all readers and reviewers, just like always.  I really do appreciate it!
Having said that...please review!
Happy Holidays!
ps- this chapter didn't go to my beta either.

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