It was Morag's turn next, and then Mandy's. And then they all sat down and started talking, throwing out ideas and trying them one by one.
Not a single one worked.
Worse, it seemed the entire class was having trouble. Snape stalked around the class - Harry could see those black eyes taking notes, but not a single group seemed to be finding their sea legs.
Midway through the class, Seamus had started making fireballs (shooting them towards the ceiling), and Snape stormed over, "Just what do you think you're doing?"
"Venting," Seamus said.
"Perhaps you might consider venting in a way that's less detrimental to the rest of the class?" Snape sneeringly said.
Seamus switched to fireworks, which got him rather frequent glares, but not detention. Harry envied Seamus that - any sort of fun he'd had in class would NO DOUBT involve a forthcoming detention.
Harry turned his attention back to Morag, who was just now outlining a way to actually merge via a tetrahedron. Harry wasn't optimistic - Snape had said circle, after all, but he got to his feet and tried again.
Ten minutes before the end of class, at least a third of the class had stopped working, and they all seemed to have adopted Seamus' strategy of claiming to be "Venting."
Harry heard a double-thump, and looked up at the podium, behind which Snape was standing. "Not a single one of you thought to change groups." Snape sneered. "Dunderheads! Did you really think you're most compatible with those you're with?"
Everyone looked at each other, most looking abashed. Harry wasn't sure, however, who he would really mesh well with, so he didn't feel as bad. And Hermione and Morag and Mandy were people with similar personalities.
Snape sneered, saying quietly, "Goyle, Crabbe, Longbottom. Front and center, and join hands."
Wait, what? Harry thought, his eyes widening.
The three assembled, Neville swallowed, nearly having to force himself to close hands with Draco's two goons. Probably thought they're going to shatter his hands.
"All three of you, close your eyes." Snape said softly, "Draco Malfoy, take the center."
Draco did so with an arrogant smirk and toss of his hair as he ducked under. Smarmy git Harry thought, knowing that Malfoy was bluffing.
"Think of Narcissa's garden," Snape said, his soft voice resembling a drone. "Picture it, how you felt, the oneness with nature."
It wasn't something you saw, or heard - but Harry could feel his hair standing on end, and almost a subtle ringing in his ears. They got it.
"Take this seed," Snape said, handing it to Malfoy, "Make it grow."
Malfoy drew his wand, and breathed out an Herbology spell, letting the plant grow greenly upwards, and then bloom - a fireflower on the long stalk.
"Class dismissed." Snape said curtly. "Potter, remain."
[a/n: Snape was taking note of who got discouraged. One shouldn't always assume that a task is designed to be completed, in the classroom.]