Constellation

Chapter 6

Potions class was never usually something that Ines' dreaded. She was quite good at it, and Slughorn favored her along with Lily. But the growing distance between her and Oberon had made potions with the Slytherins made it difficult to be excited for. Slughorn greeted Ines and Lily joyfully as he always did "Lily! Ines! So glad to see you! Ines, how is your father? Still working in the Goblin Liaison Office?" Ines nodded grimly, not wanting to talk of her father, "Yes sir". Slughorn nodded delightfully, following them to continue their conversation all the way to their desks "I just put a young Dirk Cresswell in contact with your father, I hope all went well.". Ines nodded, now seated "as do I.," she said, not meaning it at all. She couldn't care less about the things her father did, much less the people who sucked up to merely for a job.

The rest of the class filled in behind the girls, and Slughorn greeted most of them. He gave a firm handshake to Emmeline, a polite hello to Gemma Farley, he asked about how Graham Pritchard's brother was doing and gave a hearty laugh at James' elaborate greeting. Once everyone was seated, Slughorn walked to the front of the room to start the lesson. "Settle down, settle down, please! Quickly, now, lots of work to get through this afternoon! Golpalott's Third Law... who can tell me —? But Miss Evans can, of course!" Lily recited at top speed: "Golpalott's Third Law states that the antidote for a blended poison will be equal to more than the sum of the antidotes for each of the separate components."

"Precisely!" beamed Slughorn. "Ten points for Gryffindor! Now, if we accept Golpalott's ThirdLaw as true which means, of course, that assuming we have achieved correct identification of the potions ingredients by Scarpin's Revelaspell, our primary aim is not the relatively simple one of selecting antidotes to those ingredients in an of themselves, but to find that added component which will, by an almost alchemical process, transform these disparate elements —". Ines was sitting beside Lily with her mouth half open, doodling absently on his new copy of "One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi". Ines kept forgetting that she could no longer rely on Sirius Sirius to distract her from the boringness of the class, as she wishes to keep Slughorn's good opinion of her. It was quite hard. "and so," finished Slughorn, "I want each of you to come and take one of these vials from my desk. You are to create an antidote for the poison within it before the end of the lesson. Now to assign groups," He ignored the collective groan from the students as he peered among his students. "Let's have Emmeline Vance with Remus Lupin, Gemma Farley with Geoffrey Hooper, Peter Pettigrew with Dorcas Meadows, Kenneth Towler with Mulciber, James Potter with Lily Evans, Evan Rosier with Bertha Jorkins, Mary MacDonald with Severus Snape, Sirius Black with Marlene McKinnon, and let's have the two Avery's together! Good luck, and don't forget your protective gloves!"

The room seemed to stir as the Avery twins stiffened in their seats, it was widely known that the two didn't speak to each other unless it was vital. The students moved slowly, moving past both Ines and Oberon who were momentarily frozen in their seats. Ines was snapped out of her gaze when a vial appeared in front of her, Sirius had gotten one for her, giving her a pitying look, trying to push as much wordless support to her as possible. She whispered a thank you, avoiding both his and Marlene's looks and opened her book. She ignored her brother sitting beside her, who was doing the same. Annoyed, Ines uncorked the poison which was a garish shade of pink, and tipped it into his cauldron and lit a fire underneath it. The twins worked wordlessly as if they had an unspoken agreement on what they were each to do.

Ines crushed her roots with the flat side of the dagger. Hastily scooping it all into the cauldron she saw, to her surprise, that the potion immediately turned exactly the shade of lilac described by the textbook. This was because, Oberon had taken care of every other step needed, without having said anything to Ines. She then had to stir counterclockwise until the potion turned clear as water. According to the addition the previous owner made, however, Oberon had already started. Ines held in her anger and sat and waited for the next step. Oberon stirred counterclockwise, held his breath as he saw Slughorn make his way over to them, and stirred once clockwise. The effect was immediate. The potion turned pale blue.

Slughorn moved slowly among the tables, peering into cauldrons. He smiled ruefully at the tar-like substance in Sirus and Marlene's cauldron. It was quite obvious Sirius didn't care about the lesson and stifled a laugh at Marlene's disappointment. Ines assumed she was hoping to impress him with her knowledge. He made no comment, but occasionally gave the potions a stir or a sniff. He passed over James and Lily's navy concoction. To which he gave an approving nod, At last, he reached the table where Ines and Oberon were sitting. He saw theirs, and a look of incredulous delight spread over his face. "The clear winner!" he cried to the dungeon classroom. "Excellent, excellent, Avery, and eh Avery! Good lord, it's marvelous. You are truly the perfect pair, you work together seamlessly! Congratulations! 15 points to both houses!"

Neither of them smiled or made any movement at all. Slughorn hadn't noticed as he was now looking at Remus and Emmeline's potion, but most of the class did. They had yet to look at each other, having worked by only looking at the other hands. Nothing anyone said would make Ines look her brother in the eye, and say 'good job' as she should have. Oberon knew that if their parents were here, he would have said something. But he was somewhat free to do what he pleased at school, and if that meant avoiding Ines, then so be it.

The class filed out, Slughorn bidding them goodbye - as well as kudos to the Avery twins - before closing the door. Ines waited on the opposite side of the hall for Lily to exit as she had been the first out the door, leaving Oberon in her dust. When she finally exited she was flanked on both sides by Severus and James. Severus seemed to be trying to speak to her but was continually distracted by James' intimidating stare. One Severus finally gave up and walked off, Lily turned to James and gave him a slap on the shoulder and walked away. The girls then walked down the corridor side by side on their way to the great hall for dinner. Lily was complaining to Ines as she was quite frustrated with how her potion came out. Lily had been waving her wand enthusiastically over her cauldron. Unfortunately for most, they could not copy the spell she was doing because she was now so good at non-verbal incantations that she did not need to say the words aloud. James, however, was muttering, "Specialis revelio!" over his cauldron, which sounded impressive, so Sirius and Marlene hastened to imitate him.

Before Ines could ask how she worked with James her name was called behind her. She turned to find Sirius, who had run ahead from his friends, all of which were looking at him only a bit confused. He held onto her arm, watching his surroundings for the rest of the class to walk past them. Oberon sent Ines a scowl, to which Ines sent back along with a rude gesture. Turning back to Sirius he gave her a knowing look "Yeah, that was what I was going to ask you about. I was ready to hex Slughorn once he partnered the two of you.". Ines laughed, noticing his hand was still around her arm. "Yeah, it didn't help that he had to proclaim that we work well together numerous times".

They began walking, he let go of her arm. "I wanted to make sure you were, ya know, ok. I know I wouldn't be if Slughorn had paired me with Regulus per se.". She smiled sincerely at him, "Thank you, and I'm fine. Just upset. Sometimes I wish that it wasn't this way between us. I don't believe in time healing us. I think time will only let us accept the pain we feel, as we grow with it and live with it. I've cried plenty over it. But I think that there is a set amount of crying your body needs to deal with any trauma. There's a certain water-level of tears you need to shed until you can find acceptance or move on or whatever. And, if you don't cry them out, they just catch up with you."

Sirius took a moment to contemplate her words, gazing at her with a small smile. "I think we'll both benefit from learning to let go of it all. All we can do is move on and stop wasting time. Rehashing the past wouldn't change anything. Time to move forward.". They had now made it to the entrance of the great hall. They looked out at their peers. Ines spotted Oberon talking to Regulus, a rarely present smile on his face. Ines wanted so badly to be happy for him, but she couldn't. Before long, their friends noticed them standing there and called them over. Marlene was quite unhappy with them walking in together but quickly hid it by putting on a bright smile for Sirius. He didn't notice.