Tom eyed the breathing burden next to him with disdain.
"Crabbe, " he hissed, "Do you want us to fail?"
It was no use. The other boy had already dropped the poorly chopped roots into the cauldron in his surprise. Professor Vane's voice, curiously muffled, drifted from across the room-
"Mr. Ashwinder, do remember that Amortentia requires a delicate touch..."
No one important was watching them.
"You idiot! What were you thinking? Those roots--"
Crabbe went pale with fury. "Do you want them to know? You can't-you know-use His gift in public! I'm a Slytherin, not a snake. Stop hissing at me!"
If he didn't need--but there were subtler ways of dealing with Crabbe, who had started to presume on Tom's trust in recent weeks. Obsessed with bloodlines and legacies, eh?
Tom banished Crabbe to the far side of the desk, and set about rescuing the potion. As the final ingredient dissolved, the potion began to glimmer oddly, but the first delicate waft of steam rose in the characteristic pattern.
He smelled peppermint, a little boy's stolen happiness. The scent of shoeshine. Mutton pie. The must of her hair--but now the sweet was cloying, rotting, the stench of burning leather exploding in his nose, his eyes watering with the formaldehyde he'd only smelt once--
Tom jerked back his head, half fell from his chair, and fled.
"Amortentia's smell is unique to each individual, composed of what attracts him..."
She was a liar, he didn't--he wasn't--not death--