Second day of school and my first full day of lessons. It's strange waking up in a room by myself but I'm glad I don't have to battle for the shower. Since moving into the new rooms I haven't seen Maya outside of lessons, which I'm not too bothered about, it means that Fred and I have already started to plan our pranks. In previous years we have had to use the room of requirement or an empty classroom. We already know what we're doing for our first prank which we will probably set off sometime in the next fortnight. I am currently eating breakfast in the Great Hall waiting for Fred to arrive. I don't know who he is going to survive this year. I am awful in the mornings but Fred is a whole other level; it takes serious effort to get him up in the morning. Just as I finish eating my scrambled eggs on toast Fred stumbles into the Great Hall. His tie is crooked, shirt is untucked, shoe laces untied and I spot that he is wearing odd socks. He collapse opposite me dragging his hand through his curly red hair before grabbing three bacon butties and taking a huge bite out of one.
"Are you a bit hungry?" I ask with a grin on my face. Fred just scowls at me and continues eating.
After finishing all three butties Fred finally sits back and relaxes. "Merlin I needed that!"
"You might want to sort your uniform out before you lose us some house points." I say. Fred then looks down at his uniform as if seeing it for the first time before tidying himself up.
"What's first?" Fred asks even though we don't have the same lesson we can guess what lessons we have by the others timetable.
"Transfiguration and Potions before lunch, then I have Advanced Potions and Charms after that."
"So I have the same morning then Care of Magical Creatures and a free in the afternoon. I still can't believe you took Advanced Potions there's only six people who take it!"
"I enjoy potions! Sue me!" I exclaim. None of my family seem to understand why I enjoy potions so much. Technically I am better at Defence but I really enjoy brewing potions. It's a very precise art and there are so many strange potions out there - I mean a potion that allows you to see your dreams that's cool! "And you can't talk you take Muggle studies!"
"Hey! It's thanks to Muggle studies that I was able to show you Doctor Who and you know you love it!" Fred defends. He is right, I love Doctor Who. He was the one who introduced me to it, he leant about as part of muggle entertainment. "Anyway if we don't want to be late for Professor Davies." Fred says standing from the table.
"Now I'm sure you all remember in your first year when we woke up to a jungle the Entrance Hall, which was our first encounter with the Wolf!" It's my first Potions class of the year and Professor Slughorn has started it off pretty well. "Now just from that incident I personally leant a lot about the Wolf. You see the jungle was created with a tricky potion which we are going to brew today. Now this potion isn't incredible complex however it is very fast if you don't use the precise amounts with your ingredients at the exact right time then you will cause an explosion and you only have thirty minutes to complete the potion. So by the Wolf using just this potion it told me an awful lot about himself. See to brew this potion he had to be an experienced potion brewer, very diligent and careful. It is my belief that the Wolf is a title that is passed down each year and unless someone in your year was that good with potions in their first year then it's the only conclusion. Now let's see if any of you are able to brew it. Now please turn to page seventy six of your text books the potions name is Vegetationes. Now if you look at the potion you will see that there is three different versions available to make now it is your choice which you brew. But remember: crushed leeches will create a forest, sliced leeches will create a jungle and dried leeches will create a wild meadow. Now off you go, any successful potions will be tested." I hadn't realised at the time how advanced the Wolf was in my first year, but I am determined to create the potion perfectly.
"Well James, Slughorn has spoken. It's not a single person causing all the mayhem. Looks like your theory is wrong." Fred grins. I shake my head and laugh before heading to collect the ingredients. When I brew potions by myself I tend to block out the rest of the room that way I can keep all my focus on the potion and ignore the chaos around me.
Once I have all the ingredients I begin to carefully prepare them. I crush the leeches in to a fine powder. Once all the ingredient are prepared I reread the instructions. Slughorn is right this isn't a complex potion, there are only six steps but timing is everything. I scatter the leeches across the bottom of my cauldron in a flat layer before pouring my sixteen fluid ounces into the very centre on the cauldron. Increase the flame beneath the cauldron so the temperature will slowly rise. While it is heating I place a bowl over the top of the cauldron so it rests on the cauldrons' rim. I add the Bubotuber pus, tree bark from the Whomping Willow and mandrake seed's to the bowl. I wait until the steam is flowing out of the cauldron and down onto the workbench. I gently lift the bowl off the cauldron and slowly pour its contents into the cauldron. I then stir the potion alternately clockwise then anti-clockwise while counting to ten. When I reach ten I lift the potion off the heat and change the motion to a figure of eight. When I once again reach ten I stop and check my book to compare the colour on the page with what is in the cauldron. It's a slight shade darker green than it should be but otherwise I'm happy.
I finally look around to see how everyone else is doing and I nearly burst out laughing nearly half the class has burns on their clothes or faces. Jack opposite me has singed his eyebrows while Fred has a burn on his sleeve. The other tables aren't faring much better. This year there is four Ravenclaws, three Slytherins, three Hufflepuffs and five Gryffindors taking Potions. The houses tend to sit together, but as there is only four seats per bench one Gryffindor has to join another house table. As usual Maya is sitting with Chloe Jones the Head girl at the Hufflepuff table. They are both pretty good at potions and are both in advanced potions with me. All six of us who have taken advanced potions seem to have finished the potion without too much trouble. The Ravenclaws all look fine with only minimal burns, the Hufflepuffs have more burns than the Ravenclaws but still look fine. The Slytherins are worse still, but not as bad as the Gryffindors who, while we follow the instructions, have a tendency to be more relaxed with our interpretation of them. However with this potion there is no wiggle room meaning that while we are normally fine brewing the potions, similarly the Slytherins tend to find ways to make brewing the potion easier for themselves like crushing the mandrake root instead of cutting the root. This caused a number of explosions on the Slytherin table, only Charles Zabini has managed to survive without being burnt.
“Now you all seem to have finished let's see how you've done." Slughorn says "Now when we test your potions we must be sure to only use a drop. This is because the liquid poured over a surface spreads out until it covers the largest possible continuous surface. Once it has reached its maximum size it then starts to grow the plants. The better the brew the larger the area it will cover. Now let’s see who's is up to scratch. Unfortunately we don't have time to test them all so I will pick the best three to test." Slughorn then starts to move around the room starting at the Ravenclaw table he smiles at Ryan, the Head boy this year. Moving round the bench Slughorn moved over to the Gryffindor table and after pulling a face and backing away quickly from Jack's potion he reaches mine. "James my boy, I've said it before and I'll say it again you have most certainly inherited your father's and your Grandmother's gift at potions. Well done, a nearly perfect potion. Five points to Gryffindor." Slughorn then moves on the Slytherin table. I look at the rest of my table and see them rolling their eyes at me. Slughorn has said something along those lines nearly every lesson since I started Hogwarts. Slughorn is now inspecting the Hufflepuff bench, he passes the Head girls cauldron and gives her a smile, but it’s when he stops at Maya that he looks impressed. "Miss Moody another perfect brew. Ten points to Gryffindor." He then moves to the front of the class. "Now I said we would test three of these so Maya we will have your potion you've brewed a meadow. James you have brewed a forest. And who has brewed a jungle?" He asks a number of people raise their hands "Ok well then, John we will test yours as well." He walks up to John first and with the spoon drips a small amount onto the floor of the room by the wall. As we watch the liquid spreads out and vines erupt from the liquid low level plants twisting up and a tree sprouts in the middle of it all the foliage. "Very nice. Five points to Ravenclaw. It could be stronger though. James, you're next." Slughorn moves over to my cauldron and drips the same among on to the floor further along the wall. The potion spreads across the floor. The area covered is larger than the area that Johns covered thick trees burst from the ground to the ceiling. Small flowers spring forth from the ground amongst the grass. "Very good James, very good. Take another five points. Now Miss Moody let's see your potion." Slughorn grins at this. Maya is the best potioneer in the year if not the school, though not to brag but I am pretty good at Transfiguration and Defence so I can't complain. Slughorn takes her potion and drips the same amount on the floor. The potion spreads to nearly double the area that mine covered before long grass burst forth. Among the grass flowers of all colours pop up, the only ones I recognised are the bluebells. "Most impressive, Miss Moody, most impressive. You can take another five points as well." The room is now split, nearly half of it is covered with a wild flower meadow, the other half is jungle and forest. "Now for homework, I want twelve inches on the advantages and disadvantages of this potion and when it has been used and the effect it has on a person. And I want a vial of each person's brew on my desk for marking." Slughorn says with a smile. I pour my potion into a glass vile and stopper it. Before vanishing the content of my cauldron. I place my vial on Slughorn's desk then pack away my cauldron, books, scales and ingredients. I leave it in the corner of the room - my next lesson is in there, so there is no point in me lugging my bag all the way upstairs only to return back here.
"So how did you find that lesson then?" I ask Fred. While I enjoy potions Fred merely tolerates them.
"It was ok. I mean when the potions were tested was pretty cool but it’s only the second day and I've already burnt my robe!" Fred complains. "You're lucky, potions comes naturally to you. I can't wait for this year to be over and I'll never have to do potions again!" Fred sighs and I can tell that he is imagining life after school. I can't wait either. While I love Hogwarts I'm looking forward to the freedom after I leave. Fred and I want to work at Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes creating new products. While at Hogwarts we have come up with loads of ideas and even created some of them. We haven't shown Uncle George many of them as we want to really impress him when we apply for the job. He has made it very clear that if we want a job working at WWW then we have to apply like anyone else, we won't get special treatment just because we're family.
"Well some of us are just lucky. Come on I'm hungry." I drag Fred upstairs to the Great Hall. I am so hungry and as soon as I sit down I begin to pile food on to my plate. I thankfully inherited the Weasley family’s ability to eat our weight in food without getting fat.
"There you two are I've been looking for you all day." Look up to see Emma walking over with Rachel following behind her. Out of the corner of my eye I see Fred gulp. "Don't either of you dare get a detention on Saturday morning I've booked the pitch. We need to find a new seeker as Amber has gone, and I need my two beaters to make sure the seeker can dodge bludgers. So promise me that you won't get a detention!"
"I promise." Fred quickly replies causing Emma to beam at him.
"Don't worry, we will be good as gold until then." I say. Emma nods before sitting down next to Fred and putting some food onto her plate.
"By the way I know we've won for the past four years but this year, I want to destroy the competition and I have loads of new plays for us to learn. So I don't want either of you to slack off. Ok?" We both nod, Fred more enthusiastically than me. "Good. The rest of the team knows so don't worry. Trials start at nine. Be there early so I can explain how I'm going to test them." The three of us spend the rest of lunch talking about Quidditch. I notice Rachel is sat further down the table with Al, Scorpius and Rose. If they were in a restaurant it would look like a double date - actually it still looks like a double date. And here I am, the third wheel in this conversation. I hate how everyone is pairing off. True only Al and Rachel are actually in a relationship but Scorpius and Rose are as good as dating and Fred and Emma are heading that way. Soon it will be only me single. Not that it bothers me, but when they all finally start dating it will be a bit irritating when they're off in their pairs, leaving me alone.
"So what lessons do you two have next?" Emma asks
"I've got Care of Magical Creatures next but James has Advanced Potions." Fred answered, wanting to keep Emma's attention.
"Seriously James, you took Advanced Potions? Why would you do that to yourself isn't normal potions bad enough?"
"I've tried to make him see sense but no, he says he enjoys potions!" Fred pulls a face at the end of his sentence like even though we have taken potions together for six years he still doesn't believe that I enjoy it. The pair are off talking again about all the worst subjects and how glad they are to never have to do History of Magic ever again. Which then lead into how stupid Rose is for taking it and then on to how stupid Scorpius is for not asking her out already. I'm actually quite glad when lunch ends just to get away from Fred and Emma flirting. I head off to the dungeons after telling Fred to meet me in my dorm so we can continue to plan our first prank.
Only six people take Advanced Potions, it's not the most popular subject and people who want to take Advanced Potions have to get a high O. Personally I don't think that Oscar and Charles are up to the course but so far they have survived. The whole class is made up of two Ravenclaws; John Gornall and Oscar Python, Charles Zabini from Slytherin, Chloe Johns head girl and a Hufflepuff, and Maya Moody and myself from Gryffindor.
When I enter the class I find that I am the last one to arrive bar Professor Slughorn. I collect my bag and begin to unpack my things on the same bench as John.
"Ah you've all arrived before me and unpacked. Very good." Slughorn says as he makes his way to the front of the class. "Now I'm sure you all remember last year when I showed you a cauldron of Amortentia. Well now you few have the opportunity to brew some. Now can anybody tell me how long it takes to brew Amortentia? Hmm?" I see John quickly raise his hand. While he is a nice guy, he is such a Ravenclaw. On the run up to exams I tend to avoid him as he has this ability to make you feel bad for eating instead of revising. Even if you have just done a few hours work!
"It takes two weeks, Sir." John says
"Correct, have five points. Now, even though it is a long brew and is possible to be done individually I think it would be better for you to work in pairs on your first attempt." The class tends to naturally split into pairs when we choose our seats. John and I usually work together, Charles and Oscar get along and Chloe and Maya make the final pair. "It's on page seventy two. Please use one of the cauldrons in my office. Once you have completed step five, gently move your cauldron into the open cupboard at the back of the class room. Now off you go."
I turn to page seventy two. This is one of the most complex potions I have ever seen. "Alright James you go and collect the ingredients, I'll get the cauldron simmering." John says. As great a guy as John is he isn't very tall. In fact he is only five foot seven. So when we work together I tend to get the ingredients as he has trouble reaching the top shelf, whereas I have eight inches on him and have no issue.
"Sure." I make my way to the ingredients store room and quickly find the Ashwinder eggs, rose thorns and peppermint. I look round for the moonstone and find it at the back of the cupboard, on the very top shelf. Chloe is trying to reach it however due to being five foot two, she has no chance. I quietly laugh to myself before reaching up and grabbing the jar. Once Chloe has got a handful, I remove what I need from the jar and put it into its rightful place before heading back to the bench. John has the cauldron simmering nicely, and is reading through the instructions.
"Ok James you grind the Ashwinder eggs down to a fine powder, and I'll slice the peppermint. As soon as I've finished grinding down the eggs I then repeat the process on the moonstone until it's a fine powder. By the time I have finished John has sliced the peppermint into fine equal sized slices and crushed the thorns with his silver dagger. I gently add the ground eggs to the simmering water and waited for potion to turn into a cream colour. After simmering the eggs and water I slowly add the crushed thorns to the cauldron while John continuously stirs the potion. After five minutes of stirring I add the peppermint and the moonstone and John reverses the direction of the stirring. I increase the heat so the potion is boiling and we step back and let it boil for ten minutes. After the wait, John stirs the potion once clockwise then twice counter clockwise. He repeats this five times during which the potion steadily goes darker and darker until it is a deep purple. Once cool John and I carefully move the cauldron to the cupboard, where there is already one cauldron. After carefully placing our cauldron in as well I see that the girls have already finished and packed away, and are working on their homework.
"Of course those two finish first." I say.
"Well Maya probably could have done it perfectly by herself. I never understood why she is a Gryffindor." John says. A lot of my house wonders how Maya ended up in the house of the brave.
"Do you remember those dicks who used to be in Gryffindor a few years back? Well back in fourth year I found them in the corridor, frozen. It turned out that they had been bored when Maya had walked by and had decided to wind her up. After they insulted her saying she didn't deserve to be a Gryffindor she disarmed them and stunned them. They only told me because I found them and they didn't want to lose any house points. I mean three seventh years beaten by a fourth year, bit embarrassing." I haven't told anyone but Fred about this but I can't help but defend her, she is in my house after all.
"Seriously! That's impressive. She definitely should have been a Ravenclaw." In spite of the fact we are talking about Maya, John isn't look at her but Chloe instead.
"I think you're just disappointed that your sister is a Gryffindor." I smirk unable to stop myself "Maybe you're just upset that you didn't get head boy, or is it just who you could have been sharing with that you're disappointed about."
"I don't know what you're talking about. I'm not upset that my sister is a Gryffindor, I always knew she would be."
"Ah, so you do wish you were sharing with Chloe instead of with June."
"June's nice I have no issue with sharing with her. I'm not saying that I wouldn't like to be sharing with Chloe, she's very nice as well." I continue to smirk at him as he babbles.
"You should ask her out."
"What no I can't do that! What if she doesn't want to go out with me? What if she laughs at me? What if she doesn't even respond and just walks away?"
"What if she says yes? I'm just saying, I think you should ask her. At least if she says no then you're in your last year and won't have to see her for very long after that. Better than a what if." Before John can respond, Slughorn calls an end to class and I head off to Charms on the other side of the school. Even with the secret passageways, it still takes forever. I can't wait for the weekend, Quidditch trials should be interesting at least.