Constellation

Chapter 29

Sitting in the back of the classroom next to Lily was an achievement in itself, Ines hardly ever convinced her to sit so far from the front of the room. The whole walk down from Gryffindor tower was filled with persistent arguments and purposeful steps. Once inside, Lily had agreed to sit in the back if Ines occupied James next Thursday as she had a Herbology exam to study for. One that Ines would never in her life study for as it would make no difference. No longer being required to sit next to Oberon was freeing, and she was going to take advantage of being able to sit where she pleased if it was the last thing she would do.

"Now then," said Slughorn, returning to the front of the class and inflating his already bulging chest so that the buttons on his waistcoat threatened to burst off, "I've prepared a few potions for you to have a look at, just out of interest, you know. These are the kind of thing you ought to be able to make after completing your N.E.W.T.s. You ought to have heard of 'em, even if you haven't made 'em yet. Anyone tell me what this one is?" He indicated the cauldron nearest the Slytherin table. Ines

raised herself slightly in her seat and saw what looked like plain water boiling away inside it. Lily's well-practiced hand hit the air before anybody else's; Slughorn pointed at her. "It's Veritaserum, a colorless, odorless potion that forces the drinker to tell the truth," said Lily. "Very good, very good!" said Slughorn happily. Ines rolled her eyes, playfully hitting Lily's leg under the table. She constantly took over the classroom, and Ines would always lovingly point it out to her.

"Now," he continued, pointing at the cauldron nearest the Ravenclaw table, "this one here is pretty well known, Featured in a few Ministry leaflets lately too, Who can — ?" Lily's hand was fastest once more. "It's Polyjuice Potion, sir," she said. "Excellent, excellent! Now, this one here..?" said Slughorn, now looking slightly bemused, as Remus' hand lifted in the air, beating Lily to the chase. "It's Amortentia" "It is indeed. It seems almost foolish to ask," said Slughorn, who was looking mightily impressed, "but I assume you know what it does?" "It's the most powerful love potion in the world," he said, seated next to Peter. "Quite right! You recognized it, I suppose, by its distinctive mother-of-pearl sheen?" "And the steam rising in characteristic spirals," said Remus, now enthusiastically, "and it's supposed to smell differently to each of us, according to what attracts us, and I can smell Jelly Slugs, Mandrakes, and —". But he turned slightly pink and did not complete the sentence. Ines smiled softly, Remus was always very secretive about his love life, and she was happy to know that there was at least someone he cared romantically for.

Slughorn nodded jovially and began walking up and down the rows as he explained the rest. "Amortentia doesn't really create love, of course. It is impossible to manufacture or imitate love. No, this will simply cause a powerful infatuation or obsession. It is probably the most dangerous and powerful potion in this room, oh yes," he said, nodding gravely at Mulciber and Bertha Jorkins, both of whom were smirking skeptically. "When you have seen as much of life as I have, you will not underestimate the power of obsessive love, and now," said Slughorn, "it is time for us to start work.".

Ines and Lily worked fantastically together, despite their occasional squabble their cheerful friendly conversation was fun enough to drown it out. The last step approached, to sprinkle rose thorns into the cauldron. Lily, having been told to by someone she wouldn't tell Ines, knew to drop in seventeen of them. While Lily ran to the storage closet to grab the remaining three that they were missing Ines walked over to the boy's table. They were on the final step as well, having dropped in a handful of rose thorns. Ines pulled up an empty chair and bid them hello. As the pearly smoke rose from the cauldron, Ines watched Sirius from through it. "What do you two smell?" she asked, meaning for it to be posed to both of them when it was quite clearly only for one of them. James piped up first, excitedly "I smell Butterbeer, new parchment, and … yeah, it's Lily." Ines stifled a laugh, noticing Lily stand up straight from their table out of the corner of her eye.

"What do you smell, Ines," Sirius asked, she could hardly withstand his stare but Merlin blessed her with the call of her name. Lily was muttering her name but failed her attempt at keeping it quiet. "We'll see," she replied, before putting the chair back and walking towards Lily. Once she arrived, Lily pulled her in closer, over the top of the cauldron. "What brand of hair gel is it that James uses again?" she asked desperately. "Sleekeazy's Hair Potion, his father's brand," Ines stated as if it was obvious. Lily's face flushed red, despite her stressed look, and sat back in the chair. "What do you smell," she asked, as if trying to ignore what it was she smelled. Ines sniffed, and the smells - so distinct- filled her nose. "I smell…" she looked over at the boy's table and Sirius was looking right back, "Fire Whiskey, Fleetwood's High-Finish Handle Polish, and … wet dog.". Ines sat back in her seat, processing what she had smelled. She was brought out of her thoughts by Slughorn's booming voice

"Ah Sirius, sugar quills, fire whiskey, and lilacs. Have you any idea how diverse the smell of a lilac is?". Ines looked down at her feet, listening to Slughorn's explanation. "Every color of lilac has a different smell, did you know that? White lilacs symbolize purity and innocence. Blue lilacs symbolize happiness and tranquility. Magenta lilacs symbolize love and passion. Lilac, the color for which this flower is named, is a light purple that symbolizes first love.". Silence filled the room, she felt eyes on her but the only ones she could bear to look at were Sirius'.