A/N: Just a little something that was inspired by someone on a forum, cos she wrote a terrific piece of Snonks. This is only short, hasn't been proof read because I've been conscious the entire time I've been writing it and read, review, and enjoy.
Professor Slughorn bustled into the classroom where the sixth year Potions students were sitting patiently, some of them engaging in whispered chats with their friends which they hadn't quite been able to complete over break.
"Bit of hush ladies and gents, if you please?" the classroom became silent instantly and Slughorn smiled vaguely. "Now, bit of a challenge for you today, I'm sure may of you will complete it admirably, though," his gaze lingered on Tom for a moment, whose lips curved upwards slightly, acknowledging the discreet praise. "And for those of you who aren't successful, I'm sure you'll manage it another time. Now," he picked up a cauldron which was hidden by the shadows of the dungeons and placed it on his desk. "This is what you'll be brewing, anybody know what it is?"
It was a common reaction now, for everybody to turn to look at Tom when none of them knew the answer to something. Tom paused for a second, enjoying the attention before he said: "It's Amortentia, sir."
"Good lad!" said Slughorn, positively beaming at Tom. "And how do you know that, m'boy?"
"The mother of pearl sheen, and the smoke rising in spirals."
"Very good! Now, this is a very dangerous potion. It does not create love – it is impossible to create love – but obsession and infatuation cause people to do dangerous things. It is, however, a good potion to get your skills up to scratch. You must be very exact with it. Instructions are on the board, now get going."
There was a loud scraping as people got out of their chairs and made their way to the store cupboard to get their ingredients before they'd even looked at what they needed. Tom waited patiently in his seat for the crowd to clear and then got up, moved over to the store cupboard and took only the best samples of the required ingredients for himself, rather than just grabbing a handful like the rest of the class did.
It wasn't long before the steam from Tom's potion was rising in spirals, much like the one on Slughorn's desk. Slughorn patted Tom on the back as he passed him, before he frowned at Miriam Strongstar's potion, which was bubbling thickly and on the verge of overflowing. Nobody caught the fleeting smirk that crossed Tom's face.
Finally, half the cauldrons in the classroom were empty, and the rest had a vaguely shimmering surface or at least some steam rising from it. Tom's was, of course, the only one that was declared 'marvellous' by Slughorn.
"Now, you may have noticed a pleasant smell filling the room? Anybody care to share what they can smell?"
"Quaffles, sir," one of the larger Slytherins said.
"Flowers..." another one said, frowning. His friends sniggered and he whacked one of them round the back of the head.
"Is there a young lady in your life, Mr Gould?" Slughorn asked, smiling at the boy fondly.
"Yes sir, oh...right sir." He seemed to understand. "It's her I can smell, then, sir."
"And Annabel, what do you smell?"
"Quidditch players, sir. Straight from the showers, sir." The group of girls around Annabel giggled. Tom refrained from rolling his eyes.
"And Tom, you're closest to the stuff, what can you smell?" Tom inhaled deeply and then looked up at Slughorn, his face expressionless.
"Nothing, sir," Tom told him. Slughorn frowned, shook his head, and then spoke again.
"But surely you must be able to smell something."
"I can't smell a thing, sir."