Prince Charming

Chapter Three

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Harry Potter or any character from the Harry Potter books. They all remain the property of J. K. Rowling.

Many thanks to SlytherinFan15 for creating the character of Anne.

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Anne tried hard to breathe slowly and compose herself as she went back to her dormitory room to find Lily. Her brain was spinning faster than an Arabian sand dervish who'd been drinking Turkish coffee and she needed to talk to Lily right away. Lily would help her make sense out of what had just happened. Clearly Professor Slughorn had manipulated her into asking Severus Snape to the Winter Ball and had arranged for Severus to arrive at his office just as she was leaving.

No. Not just as she was leaving. After she'd stood outside Slughorn's door for ten minutes or so trying to puzzle out what had just happened. Anne stopped by a nook in the corridor holding a bust of Artemis Finchcomb, the witch who invented flue powder. She leaned against the pillar holding the bust and took off her left shoe. The bottom of the sole was sticky. Anne held it to her nose, sniffed it, and detected the unmistakable smell of ditherweed extract. Artie Weasley had poured some on the floor of the Great Hall before breakfast one morning last term and she and more than a dozen others had been caught standing in the puddle unable to decide whether to have their eggs poached or scrambled for over half an hour before the effect wore off.

Anne put her shoe back on and snorted. She could probably get Professor Slughorn in trouble for doing that, if she could prove it. Maybe she'd ask Artie if he would pour a bit of his ditherweed extract under Slughorn's desk before seventh year Potions class the next morning. That would be quite an appropriate turnabout. On the other hand, she thought, remembering Slughorn's typically self-centered and rambling lectures, how could you tell?

As she continued back to the Gryffindor dormitory Anne wondered if her sudden shift from dithering to directness in asking Snape out had also been Slughorn's doing. It must have been, she thought. I'd be more likely to jump off the Astronomy Tower without a broom than ask a boy to the Winter Ball without alchemical assistance.

Her thoughts began to calm as she tried to figure out the best way to explain what had happened to Lily. At the Fat Lady's portrait Anne started to say, Primogeniture, when she was nearly knocked over by Lily rushing out.

"I was looking for you," said Anne.

"I was looking for you," said Lily.

They laughed. Lily looked like she had an overcaffeinated dervish in her head, too.

"You'll never guess what happened," said Anne.

"Me too," said Lily. "Not in a centaur's age."

"You go first," said Anne.

"James asked me to the Winter Ball!" said Lily.

"Wonderful!" said Anne. "We can double date."

Lily's eyes widened. "Let's go upstairs," she said. "Sounds like we've got a lot to talk about."

"You have no idea," said Anne. "No idea at all…"

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