Always Yet Never Knew
Chapter 13: Potions Class & Letter Carriers
The dungeons were extremely damp, and already the mildew was irritating her with its scent. She felt bored waiting alone in the dungeons since few first years knew their way around the castle, while she had the guidance from two mischievous fellows. It occurred to her for the first time that she had become accustomed to the fans that would flock around her, each trying to attain her attention, but here nobody knew her for her achievements or name; she was just another face in the crowd. This wasn't a bad thing per say, although all the attention previously had been great for her vanity. Not that anyone would suggest such a thing of THE Angelica Jacques. Here at Hogwarts she has the opportunity to create whatever type of persona she'd like. The few people she interacted with, in the same manner she normally treats her adopted parents, would serve her well in future. Honestly, the masses which catered to her needs weren't necessary, but their help made things more efficient and her ease in charming the crowd just caused a reaction that she was used to and took full advantage of. They would be friends willing to help her, just as she would help them. Scheming was one of her easiest and most accessible sources for amusement while alone, now it appeared that the time for scheming was over as small clusters of first year student had found their way to the Potions Lab.
In the lead were the Slytherins, they knew these corridors well due to their house being located somewhere amidst the labyrinth of corridors found in the dungeons, as well as the tour that the Slytherin prefects gives to each new batch of first years so they don't get lost within what would be their home for the next seven years..
"Look what we have here, the odd maiden alone in the dungeons," jeered a random Slytherin.
"She's hardly interesting, don't you agree Draco?" sneered Pansy. Barely paying attention to Pansy, Draco walked past her and sat down on one side of Angelica before striking up a conversation.
"You don't seem out of place here, even if you are a mudblood."
"Do you expect me to relish your attention and swoon when you speak if all you have to say is an insult? Is this how you normally make friends? If so you leave much to be desired."
Turning a deep shade of red from his embarrassment Draco cleared his throat before courageously trying to make amends, "I…I… I didn't mean that as an insult rather I… actually meant that as a complement to your composure and class, since you don't seem too affected by the change -" Entirely amused by Draco's inability to decide on what he should say next Angelica decided to spare him the struggle.
"Let's start again. I am Angelica Jacques, and as I'm sure you've heard the sole member of the Sea House."
Emboldened by the second chance, Draco made a bigger effort to ooze pomposity "Malfoy, Draco Malfoy, scion and heir to the Ancient & Noble House of Malfoy, and as you can see from the crest upon my attire also part of the Noble House of Slytherin, " looking down his nose at her before breaking into a covert grin.
The uncharacteristic show of emotion from the House of Snakes gave Angelica the assurance that she could pursue a friendship with Draco without major worry of being utilized for his own means. Taking his hand she shook it with a smile.
"Partner with me for potions?" asked Draco.
During this exchange from the corner of the room, in a discrete alcove hidden by the shadows a tall man with a hooked nose watched the exchange in confusion. His godson rarely took a shine to anyone, females especially, because of his upbringing and Pansy (shudder). Committing the small smile on his godson's face to memory the clock chimed the end of the period to reach one's class, using his wand to make a more dramatic entry a loud crash resounded in the classroom and everyone save two students jumped in surprise.
"There will be no silly wand-waving in my class," the drawl captured the complete attention of the adolescents with the silken tone, "I don't expect you to understand the beauty of a softly simmering cauldron or the shimmering fumes produced, nor the delicate powers found within liquids that will creep through human veins to bewitch the mind, ensnare senses, but I will teach you how to brew fame, bottle glory and even - stopper death." The swirling of his black cloak seemed mesmerising, hypnotic even. In the pause, the door to the classroom opened, it was Neville Longbottom, the other prophecy child; no the only one, Harry Potter was missing.
"Speak up, you bumbling buffoon!" snapped Severus.
Glancing over at Angelica, Neville felt a bit more confident under the dark stare of the potions master, "Right, uh, Headmaster Dumbledore would like to speak with Angelica, I mean—Ms. Jacques."
"Perhaps if you took better care of yourself you wouldn't look like you just fell out of bed before the headmaster spotted you to send on an errand, you wouldn't be in this position. Would you? Or do you need a better timepiece, Mr. Longbottom, so you can get up on time?" Professor Snape snarked at the first year.
"th-th-that's not what happened," Neville's earlier confidence disappearing under the antagonistic gaze of his professor. As he opened his mouth to refute the words of his professor he was cut off by another caustic diatribe.
"I don't care how it happened, I do, however, care that you have interrupted my class. Now return to the Headmaster and inform him that I will send Ms. Jacques to him at the end of class. Goodbye, Mr. Longbottom."
Returning his focus to class Severus felt a strong irritation run through him, as a release he turned to the newest Weasley, " Our newest Weasley addition, let's see if you even come close to how your brother's preformed. What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?"
The red faced boy glowered up at him, "I don't know -" Ron was cut off by Severus as he spoke, "I will tell you once, show me the respect I'm due. It's Sir."
"I don't know, Sir,you should ask Hermione, she looks like she knows." Hermione Granger had been waving her hand in the air as she eagerly hoped to be chosen. With the dark glower that turned to her she shrunk in her seat her frizzy hair seeming to deflate.
"I did not ask her the question Mr. Weasley, I asked you!" the acerbic man spat, "for your information it creates a sleeping potion so powerful it is known as the Draught of Living Death. Let's try again, shall we. Where would you look if I tell you to find me a Bezoar?"
Ron shook with fury as he grit his teeth to stop a violent burst of rage from taking over his tongue, "I don't know."
"Sir" Snape snarled at the boy.
"I don't know, Sir." Ron's voice taking on enough venom one could wonder if he didn't have some Slytherin qualities in him after all.
Then let me inform you, Mr. Weasley, a Bezoar is a stone, taken from the stomach of a goat and it will save you from the most poisons, something you would know if you had read your textbooks. Last chance to impress me, what is the difference between Monkshood and Wolfsbane?"
Ron Weasley had reached his boiling point, now he exploded, "WHAT THE BLOODY HELL IS YOUR PROBLEM, YOU STUPID SNAKE, I BET YOU'RE A DEATHEATER! WHAT DID I EVER DO TO YOU? I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE ANSWER IS, WHICH YOU ALREADY KNEW. WHY ARE YOU PICKING ON ME, YOU GREASY DUNGEON BAT?!"
The room went still, every eye watching the Weasley, some with pity but mostly with stunned disbelief. Ron seemed to realize the mistake he'd made with going off on a rant at his potions professor and gulped with dread since his mouth was suddenly dry and his tongue too large for his mouth. His eyes watched his lap to afraid to look at the man he'd yelled at.
"Mr. Weasley. Get out." Severus' nose looked larger more crooked as he ominously hovered over the boy, practically daring the boy to become agitated and dig himself deeper into a hole.
"You can't do that," whined Ron.
"Mr. Weasley, you'll find that here within these walls, I can do whatever… I… want. Now leave." He was too cowed to try and argue for a place within the classroom so like a dog with its tail between its legs he grabbed his book bag angrily and stomped out. Slamming the doors shut as he let through the oak doors.
"I hope this isn't any indication of your intelligence," Severus said as he made a point of making eye contact with each of the remaining students, "because if it is, you're worse than the usual bunch of dunderheads I have the displeasure of teaching." A fearful silence filled the air after that speech. Inwardly Severus sighed, that felt better to release the tension he'd felt build up with the interruption of Neville Longbottom.
Taking a silent breath, "As to the last answer of question I asked before Mr. Weasley thought he could disturb my class, there is no difference between Monkshood and Wolfsbane and it also goes by the name of Aconite. Why are you dunderheads not writing this down?!" Severus snapped. In a flurry of parchment paper and ink the students began writing down what they could remember of the tirade that didn't involve the words: dungeon bat, greasy, stupid, deatheater and the other unflattering words to describe their potions professor.
"Today you will be preparing one of the most mind-numbingly simple potions I know, acne remover, the instructions are on the board." as he said this he flicked his wrist and the directions appeared in spidery chalk writing, "Now get a move on, you have another hour to finish." The wide eye stare at him made him regret slightly for scaring them so badly the couldn't even move, grinding his teeth he spoke again, "Gather your ingredients!" the sharpness to his tone must have made it through the thick skulls of his traumatized students as they jumped in their seats and made a mad dash towards the front of the room, pushing and shoving to try and attain the best looking ingredients available before someone else got them.
Without a rush Angelica gracefully rose from her spot next to Draco in order to gather the needed ingredients to prepare the acne remover as he prepared their station and cauldron. Because Angelica was the last to reach the supplies all that was left were badly bruised and small ingredients, but without any hesitation Angelica picked up the worst of what was left and grinned as she made her way back towards their station. Draco's eyes had followed her every move from when she stood from her seat next to him to the leisure walk from their station to the front. Once she reached her spot she glanced at him from under her eyelashes, his eyes seemed to question her sanity and her choice of potions material as she'd left them with the worst of the worst. Angelica merely smiled cheerily, enjoying thee flush that covered his cheeks when he noticed her gaze. Sitting down she simply began preparing the ingredients in front of her at the directions told her to. Draco stared at her for a moment longer wondering why she didn't even explain her actions and leaving them with bad materials that could not possibly produce a good end product, shrugging he decided he would trust her judgement and started to prep the cauldron by adding water as the base and bringing it to a boil. She sat there concentrating on making all the ingredients equal in size: she sliced, diced, shredded, mashed and shaved each ingredient until they all looked exactly the same making it even better since she threw away the bruised areas and kept only the best of what she had. Draco began adding each ingredient and was amazed that their potion didn't seem to have any flaws, the color was a deep green and once he added the shredded kappa as the description from the text had said it turned to a lighter green with a slight bluish tint. As Severus made his rounds amidst the rows he made demeaning comments and the lack of skills exhibited by the rest of the class the only ones spared his negative feedback were Angelica Jacques, she had scary mafia parents not to mention her own powers, and Draco Malfoy, his godson whom he'd taught the basics since the boy was eight years old. He sneered at Granger's potion it was near perfect but lacked the same fumes and scent that Draco and Angelica's potion were giving off. Draco grinned as his godfather passed by without even a sneer on his face, and did as instructed, with the last of the ingredients dropped into the cauldron and three counter-clockwise stirs its fumes took on a vanilla scent and a slight mint shimmer. It was perfect, their method had worked well. The potion had the best consistency and lightest color of all of the ones around them. In another few moments they would remove the cauldron from the heat and let it sit for another two minutes before bottling it and handing it in.
Draco's excitement that he was barely containing kept a small quirk of the lips present until he was shocked out of his daydreaming by his professor's voice, "Time is up! Bottle your potions and bring it to the front, your assignment is to read chapter 3 of One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi. Be prepared for next class or you may wind up like Mr. Weasley, removed from my class. Now get out!"
Letters were normally received by students at breakfast each morning in the Great Hall, so it came as a surprise to the students when the doors burst open at their professor's command to get out of his classroom and a snowy owl soared through the open doors. Surprise turned into trepidation as the owl landed on the head of the potions master. His back had been turned or the owl's intention of landing on his head would have ended with it being hit with a curse. Entering the potions lab was akin to entering the layer of a venomous viper who would kill you at the first sign of offense. The one that ruled the roost, so to speak, was the potions master therefore the bird's actions caused the class to fall into a respectful silence as the bird did have a regal air that within moments would be snuffed out because the potions master would not allow such blatant disregard for his person. The less brave students or perhaps they were simply exhibiting their self-preservation skills made an elegant dash out of the classroom to put some space between them and the fuming potions professor's rage. They didn't just run away to feed the rumor mill of Hogwarts instead they ran out only to peak around the solid oak doors ready to duck at a moment's notice, if they had known the dueling skills of their professor they'd have known it would do them no good unless they had extremely fast reflexes.
Severus could not believe anyone or thing had the gall necessary to make a mockery of him here in his domain, his entire body was tense prepared to strike the second the mischief maker became known to him, all it would take was a single glance into the eyes of each of his students. Luckily for him he didn't have to wait as someone spoke up, "I'm sorry about that Professor Snape; Hedwig my beautiful owl seems to have mistaken your hair as her nest. It may be wise to but some conditioner for your hair, it helps ease away stray strands and hair itself with have a clean shine to it. Did you roll out of bed before coming here? It must be difficult to be around so many children day after day," piped Angelica as she stood from her seat having finished gathering her books. Every eye was on her each filled with disbelief that she'd been the one involved with this mockery of her professor, she seemed so well behaved… minus her interaction with the Weasley twin terrors. Angelica didn't stop there as she walked away she threw a phrase at the professor that made him have an "AH HA" moment, "As Neville so kindly informed us earlier, I have a meeting with the Headmaster. See you later professor." She left him standing there watching her as she walked away with a letter tucked into her pocket barely visible, in the drama of Hedwig's arrival nobody had noticed the small folded parchment that had drifted down into her lap and quickly stowed away in her pocket. Hedwig watched her companion from the top of the dark man's head and started to preen herself and the head she occupied, fighting against the lank strands that one could imagine hissing.
Everyone was frozen from the unexpected set down by one very small first year in defense of her friend. The rumor mill of Hogwarts would be extremely busy for the next few days as the story of Angelica Jacques versus the Potions Professor changed from the word of mouth retelling of what had occurred.
In the wake of her people in the dungeons could hear the musical giggles that never failed to warm people to the tip of their toes, unfortunately, it was followed by a hiss of rage, how a hiss could carry so well was a mystery but it had happened.
AN (3035 words. not including title or author note)
Sorry guys for such a long gap between chapters, I don't have an excuse but I hope my failings as a writer don't stop you from enjoying what I have posted. Your reviews are appreciated and whenever I get around to reading them I always feel such joy that you are finding pleasure from my writing. I started this chapter on Valentines day this year and although I only just finished it, it was meant as my Valentines Day gift to you ;)
toodles talk to you whenever 3