"Good morning class," said Professor Jarvey cheerfully, walking into his sixth year N.E.W.T potions class.
"Good morning Professor," answered the class promptly, but without distaste. Professor Jarvey was probably the most popular teacher by far at Hogwarts. All the girls loved him and all the guys idolised him.
"Today we will be working on a rather difficult potion so you will have to work with a partner…"
Every student locked eyes with their best friend.
"that has already been chosen," he finished.
Several kids moaned.
"Now don't get all huffy. If it were up to me you would be working with your best friends in the whole world. In fact I would prefer it. But the Ministry thinks that it is a good idea for students to work with people they normally wouldn't work with. Something about not letting anybody be left out or excluded because they are unpopular. So it is my grave duty to split you up and make you work with someone else.
"Oh and a Ministry official may drop by to see how it is working out. So will you please try and act like your getting along. At least while they're here."
He pulled a list out of his desk. "Well here it is. Your death sentences. I myself didn't have the heart to write this so I asked Professor Tracy to do so."
Everyone's eyes widened. If Jarvey was the most popular Tracy was the least popular. She taught Defence against the Dark Arts and was terribly strict.
Students began to cross their fingers or hold good luck charms that they carried around.
A boy with messy black looked up at Jarvey. He smirked and looked over at a girl with long red hair and piercing green eyes. She rolled her eyes and stared at the front of the classroom.
Jarvey shook his head in disbelief and reread the name that was written next to James.
"You'll be partnered with Severus Snape."
James snarled looking back at a boy with thin, greasy black hair that hung in his pale sickly face. The boy glared right back at James, most likely just as revolted and disgusted at who he had been partnered with.
"Yes." Jarvey said his eyes darting fearfully back and forth between the two boys. "Sirius why don't you stand up and let Severus have your seat."
Reluctantly Sirius stood up and patting James' back walked away and leaned up against the stone wall.
Snape sat where he was his hand wrapped around the base of his wand. Nobody was going to make him sit with Potter. They'd have to fight him.
"Now Severus please come up here and sit with James," Jarvey prayed to Merlin that a fight wouldn't break out.
"Why don't you partner us with other people. Sirius and I could work together. We'd act like we had never met before," James bargained, his eyes darting angrily to Snape.
Jarvey shook his head and wished it were that simple. "The reason I suggested Tracy compile the list is because she is part of the Educational Committee at the Ministry. She is also the one that will observe us. So you see it would be kind of difficult to fool her seeing as she knows exactly who is friends with who."
"Well I don't give a bloody hell," James said angrily.
"Why don't you attempt to control that nasty temper of yours Potter. It may just get you into trouble one of these days," Snape muttered, thinking no one could hear him.
"Oy James," squeaked a small boy with brown hair.
"What is it Peter?" James growled turning in his seat. He knew he should've just stayed in bed this morning.
"Snivellus is back here making cracks about you," Peter said, hoping a fight would break out.
"So," James turned to Snape, "You think it's funny to make jokes about me do you Greaseball?"
"Actually I get the least bit of amusement out of it Potter. And it's not a joke it happens to be true. You are an arrogant, preppy, ass."
"Now boys," Jarvey broke into the conversation. "Why don't we just settle this dispute like adults."
As he said it he could tell neither of the two parties appreciated his help. Sirius stepped away from the wall and pulled out his wand. He stepped behind James and glared at Snape.
"Okay fine!" Jarvey said stepping between their lines of sight. "Ten points from both of you and it will be ten more if you don't shut-up. Now Severus you will sit with James and pretend to get along with him. Okay? And James you will be polite and courteous. Got that? If all goes well we can through this without any major problems."
James and Severus just stood there glaring angrily at each other.
"Got it?" Jarvey said threateningly. James nodded though it was forced and jerky. Snape grabbed his bag and walked over to James table. With a sarcastic air about him he sat down primly and nodded hello to James.
James glared back. He shifted his seat away and looked straight in front of him at the black board.
"There now that that is taken care of Miss Hanes you'll be with…"
The class worked in complete silence. Not a peaceful silence, but an awkward and stony silence. Sometimes someone would talk but most of the time the kids just eagerly watched James and Severus, waiting for a fight.
Jarvey could feel the anger charging in the air.
His gaze flicked over to Severus and James. They didn't even look as if they were in a group. Snape was reading over the directions carefully and stirring the potion while James added the ingredients the Snape had already cut up.
They were muttering directions back and forth but there was nothing friendly about it, at all. So far the Ministry's idea was an utter failure.
"Now add the shrivelfigg skins," Snape snapped. "No not the Bander root!" He yelled as James dumped in a pile of small brown roots.
The potion went from a deep green colour to a blood red one. Sparks flew up and the cauldron began to shake.
Everybody froze and watched in horror as clouds of purple smoke billowed from the potion and wrapped around Severus and James.
Jarvey grabbed his wand and was about to say a spell when the cauldron exploded sending him to the ground.
Bits of pewter and potion rained down around the classroom. Students scrambled under their desks.
After a second everything became calm again and everyone peaked out from under their hiding spots.
Jarvey jumped to his feet and dashed over to James' table hoping no one was hurt.
The purple smoke was clearing away and Jarvey thought he could make out two figures standing there.
"Thank Merlin," he whispered. It seemed everything was okay.
"This can't be happening!" he heard James yell.
"Look what you did you dumb jock."
"Me? You were in charge of the potion!"
The last of the smoke cleared away and everyone gasped.
James and Severus were stuck together at the hip.