I was taking my 4th year Potions exam, as Professor Trimble walked idly in and out of each row of student work stations. He eyed everyone's Girding Potion with either disappointment or bewilderment, but when he stopped at my station, he gave a faint smile, which I could tell he was trying to resist - typical Slytherin. I had just dropped three flying seahorses into my cauldron when a disturbance came from outside the Dungeon's classroom. Voices were raised, and I remember wondering if one of them was Hermione's. I stirred my potion for a moment and raised the heat to 200° Celsius.

He strode over to the door and swung it open, his dark emerald robes flying with the quick move of his arm. There, in the doorway, stood Hermione Granger, along with Hogwarts' new Headmaster. Hermione's eyes met my own, and for some reason she would not look away. She pulled Professor Trimble close to her and whispered something in his ear... her eyes were still on me. I felt a knot form in my stomach and work its way into my throat. I swallowed hard and looked down at my cauldron. The potion was now at it's desired color - bright green - so I turned off the fire, pulled my apron off slowly, and walked over to the group of adults who were now huddled together at the back of the classroom.

"Professor Trimble," I said, eyes still locked with Hermione's. Another knot formed within me as she tucked a piece of fallen hair behind her ear, and looked solemnly down at her cream leather shoes. Something was wrong, and I remember feeling the urge to vomit. "I think my potion is ready, Professor." This time my voice came out strained and soft. Trimble laid his hand on my shoulder.

It took me a moment, but I finally looked away from Hermione, and into the eyes of my professor. They were black, and usually full of menace (yet again, a typical Slytherin characteristic) - but this time, the blacks of his eyes were full of deep apologetic compassion. "You've been a delight to work with this year, Miss Blackbury. One of my top students. I'm sure your potion is perfect."

I opened my mouth to say thank you, but no words came out. Hermione replied for me.

"Thank you, Mr. Trimble. Would you mind collecting Miss Blackbury's belongings, please?"

"Oh, of course," the teacher answered, running across the room to my station and shoving my textbooks carelessly into my rucksack. I felt another pair of eyes on me and looked to my left to find James, standing at his station stirring his potion frantically. I could tell that he was worried, and that he wanted to be a part of whatever conversation was about to take place. His eyes were anxious as he looked at me, then to his aunt Hermione, and then back to me.

He was standing close to where I was and I could smell something sour rise from his cauldron. I tilted my head so that I could see into the cauldron, and noticed that his poor, poor potion was a bubbling, brown mess. "Stop stirring," I said.

"What?" he said, confused.

"Stop stirring your potion, James. You're going to ruin it."

"Oh," he said, looking down at his cauldron. His face contorted as he finally realized the sour stench and looked back at me with a puzzling look. "What do I do now?" he whispered.

"Just add another set of fairy wings, and turn the fire up to 300°."  As he followed my instruction, I thought back to the day before when he had tried to kiss me after dinner.

We were walking back to Gryffindor tower, and James had taken my hand in his, lacing his fingers with my own. We walked slowly into the common room, and just as we approached the stairs, he pulled me close and grabbed my waist. He tilted his head, and bent down to kiss me, but I quickly backed away. A part of me wanted to kiss him so badly - he was extremely good looking, remarkably smart, and incredibly funny. But he was also a trouble maker, and on numerous occasions I had found myself serving detention alongside him and his league of misfits. No matter how much he aggravated me, though, I couldn't help but have feelings for him....  but  I also had feelings for someone else.  Big, huge, magnificent feelings for a fellow Metamorphmagus.  An adorablely goofy Teddy Lupin.

"I'm sorry, James. I can't. I just.... can't." I pushed myself away from him and ran up the stairs, leaving him at the bottom, lips still pursed and head still cocked. When I reached the top, I looked back down over my shoulder to find him, but he had disappeared.

I could see my hair turn bubblegum pink in the reflection of Professor Trimble's oval shaped glasses as he handed me my things. I shook the embarrassing memory out of my head, and my hair changed back to its original color. I looked at James and his potion, and it was beginning to look better. I smiled at him, and he returned the gesture as if nothing weird had happened between us the night before. Hermione politely grabbed my arm at the elbow and drug me into the hallway.

The Dungeons were dark, and glowed green with the banners of Slytherin House. Without saying anything, she lead me out of the gloomy halls and into the main part of the castle. I thought, at first, we were going to the Great Hall, especially when the new Headmaster separated from us and entered the giant double doors, but Hermione sped up and her grip on my arm tightened.

"Hermione? What's going on?" I asked softly.

Now, she was practically pulling me. We exited the castle and passed the protective enchantments of Hogwarts, and suddenly I felt a fuzzy feeling pull at my navel. I closed my eyes for a brief moment, and when I opened them, we were standing in front of the Burrow.

"Violet. I'm sorry to take you out of your exams like this, but there's something really important I need to tell you."

"Obviously," I said, angrily and finally wrenched my arm away. "What is going on?" I ask raising my voice.

"Let's go inside and talk," she replied, grabbing my arm again.

"Absolutely not!" She let go of me. "Enough of this! Tell me what is going on!"

"Violet, please," she pleaded.

"No! I want an answer!"

There was a very long silence; a terrifying, numing pause.

"Violet. It's your mother. She's passed away" 

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