The Forgotten Memory
Chapter 6: The Potions Mistress
Albus and Scorpius took a different dungeon this time. It was a dungeon darker and dinkier than the Slytherin dorms. The class waiting outside the room was too familiar to Albus and Scorpius.
Mark and his twin friends were there. For once, they seemed to be quiet. Not too hyper this time. It must’ve been the air of the dungeon, because it depressed even Scorpius. Albus hoped Professor Era would be nice; someone to light up the dungeon. But the way she was dressed earlier, it wasn’t too likely though she did admittedly have a mesmerizing effect on Riley Blackberry.
Beside Mark, too close beside him, was Nigel’s sister, Laura. Laura Creevey. Albus recognized her as the first girl in Gryffindor who went with loud cheers and wolf-whistles. She seemed to adore Mark. Albus simply could not think of any other reason for Laura was practically cuddling up to the boy.
Also outside, waving to them and much to the stares of other Gryffindors, was Rose. Albus and Scorpius hadn’t seen Rose since the train. It was good to see her again. Albus greeted her with a hug, and Scorpius looked down, “Hi, Rosie.”
Rose laughed, “It’s Rose. How’re you, Al? How’re the dorms?”
Albus shrugged, “Ok. How are yo”-
Conversation didn’t erupt, because the witch arrived. When Professor Era arrived, the air around them only grew cooler. What were the odds that she was a nice teacher? Very low. Before walking in, Albus turned to Mark. Laura had just left, so Albus said quietly, “You seem to have an admirer.”
That was when Albus noticed. He could not explain it before but Mark just turned to him with an unmistakable cold look in his blue eyes before turning away, acting as if no one spoke and effectively ignoring Albus. Scorpius seemed to have noticed too and he shrugged when Albus turned to him questioningly. Mark walked in the dungeon with the twins Alex and Eric without a backward glance.
Putting the cold look at the back of his mind to brood on later, Albus and Scorpius followed them inside with Riley and Walter beside them. They took their seats at the back of the dungeon. Professor Era gazed at them all through her black eyes, and spoke aloud, “Professor Forma Era. You will refer to me as Professor Era, or Ma’am.” She smirked, “Preferably ma’am.” Few of the class exchanged uneasy laughs, and she went on, “I am Head of Slytherin House, so if you see favoritism, just remember I’m only… human.”
“She looks like a wingless bat,” Scorpius muttered to Albus.
“Not funny, Scorps,” Riley whispered back, eyes fixed on Era interestedly. Albus could not tell if he was joking or not. That comment did seem a little weird for Riley to be making.
The attendance didn’t take long. She paused for a bit after mentioning Mark’s name, but then continued as if nothing happened. Finally, she stopped. “Now,” she said loudly, bringing all out of whispered conversations effortlessly. “Let’s do some seating arrangements. Wallader, go sit with Potter, both of you at the back. Weasley, you go sit with Mr. Thomas. Blackberry, with the Wallaby twins. Mr. Mold, if you can sit with young Creevey over there. Miss Flamingo, with Potter.” She stood back, “hmm, you know what. Change of plans. Creevey, join Mr. Wallader. Flamingo, with Mold. I think I want Malfoy with Miss Finnigan and Macmillan… sit with Abel. Yes, that’s better.”
She went on, arranging the rest of the class, and when she finished, stared at them all, “I think this arrangement will do. I have a unique style of teaching and management, so forgive me if I wish for these arrangements to remain the rest of the term.”
She sat down to take note of the arrangements. Mark didn’t seem too happy, but Laura seemed ecstatic. The Wallaby twins were with Riley, and they didn’t seem to be enjoying themselves either. As a matter of fact, they seemed more annoyed than Mark. But Albus soon found out why Mark didn’t like Laura. Laura was annoying. She kept asking Mark different questions about so many things, even his heritage, and Mark seemed reluctant to answer. It was apparent that the only thing keeping Mark from yelling at Laura was because he was in class.
Era walked around the class, having finished with the arrangements, and stared around, “Potions… is a fascinating subject. You will come to appreciate the simmering of the cauldrons as your friends, and the fumes of the boiling liquid as your family. Potions are different from other branches of magic simply because it is a science. This is what makes it so complex. But, you do not want to toy with Potions. When mishandled, they can be dangerous. For example, the Sleeping Solution, if made wrong, can put you into endless sleep. Today, we will be looking at the ingredients. Let me direct your attention to this bezoar. Taken from a goat, it can”-
Albus’ thoughts wandered off. He stared down, letting his mind race to the letter waiting in his dorm to be sent. One thing for sure, he wasn’t good with lectures. Just when he was showing potential to stay daydreaming, a ringing female voice invaded his ears, “Potter! Where’s the bezoar found?”
Albus shook himself out of his trance, and blinked dazedly. He was aware of all eyes on him. He racked his brains. What did he read? Wasn’t she just saying before he drifted off? “Err… a goat.”
“And where in the goat is it found, Wallader?”
Albus sighed in relief. He got lucky this time. Next time, he might not be fortunate. He’d better watch himself in this class. “Potter, pay attention,” Era interrupted his thoughts again. “The bezoar is found in its stomach. Mostly used as a universal antidote and yet used in very few potions.”
She turned their attention to unicorn horns, and centaur hooves next, and it took a full fifteen minutes to explain those. Then, she started on wolfs bane. “It is a myth that this will protect you from Werewolves. A simple myth; however, treated rightly, it can be used in a special potion used to keep werewolves sane. Garlic on the other hand, (and it seemed Riley was allergic to it) has a strong smell, particularly to vampires, who will- Blackberry, what’s wrong.”
“I- I think I’m a vampire,” Riley said shuddering. “I’m allergic to garlic!”
Some of the class laughed. Mark exchanged smirking glances with the twins, and Albus looked up interestedly. Era looked at Riley for a bit, and then nodded, throwing it off, “Ok, it’s gone. Ignore it.”
She didn’t continue the lecture though. She gazed at the class through black eyes, as if studying them. She shook her head, “Creevey, stop talking to Wallader. Wallader, sit with Potter. Creevey, at the back with the Wallaby. We’ll deal with this seating fiasco at the end.”
She must’ve explained so many ingredients, Albus wondered how they ever got through it all when she finally finished considerably earlier than expected and drew breath. “Homework; I want you all to take an ingredient from the cupboard, a random one, and find it in your given textbook. Name five potions it can be used in. By the end of the term, you will have gotten the gist of simple enough Potions. You will use your picked ingredient, and make a Potion with it included, and an essay describing what purpose it serves in the potion. So write it down. The one sitting next to you will be your partner. Agreed?”
“Miss?” Mark raised his hand. “We won’t manage. I’m in Gryffindor. He’s in Slytherin. How can we work?”
“It’s Professor,” Era corrected coldly. “And you will do so by exercising house unity. You will be working with your partners, meet each other during weekends or something. On top of that, you have the term. The ball is in your court.”
“And we have to keep these arrangements?” Scorpius complained. Alex and Eric nodded in agreement.
Era rested her eyes on Scorpius, making him shudder a bit, “Malfoy. I told you I have a unique style, and I really would like to go unopposed. So, if you could”-
“Professor, it’s illogical,” Alex said. Alex spoke with a soft voice not unlike Mark. “We can’t sit like this for the remainder of term, before we even met. It’s unfair.”
“It’s like you’re forcing us to be friends,” Mark said, nodding in agreement. “What if I don’t like the bloke I’m sitting with?”
Bloke? Albus was puzzled at Mark’s choice of words for Albus that he was barely paying attention when Era said back, “Then you’re being judgmental,” she answered simply, a hint of triumph in her voice. “Like you said, before you even met.”
“No teacher does that,” Rose said. “We wanna sit with our friends.”
“Keep the peace you know,” Mark said in agreement.
Laura, Albus noticed, gazed at Mark admiringly. Albus couldn’t see why. Mark wasn’t that amazing. He looked simple, he talked girly, and on top of that, he was a jerk. Albus was just being nice, and he ignored him, and so recently, hinted openly he might not like Albus.
“Ok then. I’m sticking with my friends,” Eric said firmly. And he actually got up from his seat, and sat back with Mark. Alex did the same. Laura stayed where she was, having no desire to move. Indeed, Albus thought she might as well follow Mark if he moved anywhere. But he seemed to be satisfied with the twins.
Before Albus knew it, Scorpius was sitting next to him, and the two left to join Riley. A few more in the class moved. The room was temporarily filled with the scurrying of feet and quickening movements. Era watched calmly as they sat according to their own arrangements.
Era stared at them through her black eyes, the class staring back. “Move your butts back to where I assigned them now.” The voice she used was this time low and deadly and she fixed Eric with a threatening stare that made him cower. “You demand to sit with your friends because you don’t like other people from other houses? When you come up with a better reason, I may back down but as of now… move it!”
The challenge the class posed collapsed in an instant as feet were heard moving across the room again back to where they were originally assigned which meant Mark was back with Albus.
“I’m going to pose a challenge to all of you,” Era warned. “I’m a very tolerant and fair woman and soon you will learn just how fair I can be. I will let it slide now but soon, maybe next week, I will dedicate a lesson quashing every reason you have for wanting to defy me. Is that clear?”
A general murmuring of the class was followed by the bell. Thankful, Albus leapt up, and sped out of the door, Scorpius, Riley, and Walter at his heels. Thank goodness that was over. Albus’ first stop would be to the dormitory to fetch his letter, and send it in the Owlery.
Dear Mr. Potter,
I will need to see you in my office later today at around five in the afternoon. Consider it urgent. It regards the reports you’ve been giving me concerning the ‘family’ you’re assigned to. We need to discuss this thoroughly.
Harry Potter made his way up the lift to the Minister’s floor, the letter in his hand. He strode up quickly across the hall and to the door at the very end. He knocked slowly. “Enter.”
Kingsley Shacklebolt was a middle-aged man sitting behind the desk cluttered with papers and books. Behind him were shelves of documents dating back to 1998 when he first took the job. He eyed Harry Potter as he entered.
“Yes, Mr. Potter, I have an important job for you,” Kingsley said in a growly voice.
“Yes, Mr. Potter,” Kingsley interrupted. “Assassins are as we know after them. While their son is safe in Hogwarts, that does not mean we can afford the death of a significant player, particularly when his abilities and theories… may be just what we need.”
“You need more Aurors?” Harry asked.
“I am sure that you and the team of Law Enforcement officials can handle their protection, but you must make it clear to Longbottom at Hogwarts that being an ex-Auror does not relieve him of his duty when it comes to matters as important as this. He must protect the boy as much as he can.”
“I’ll send him a letter,” Harry said, flustered and hesitatingly as Kingsley looked at him as if expecting more. Harry ploughed on, “Minister, the school year just started and I have two kids in Hogwarts now.”
“Yes, one made Slytherin I hear,” Kingsley said, filing through extra papers.
“Yes, but both can keep their eyes on him and make sure that… everything is ok,” Harry finished. “I mean, Longbottom alone won’t be able to keep an unclosed eye for long. But to keep a students’ eyes on him from two houses and a teachers’ eyes on him… might prove useful.”
Kingsley did not looked apprehensive but nodded in agreement, “Yes, I learned from you a long time ago just what it means to get students involved. However, do not rely too much on them. I am resigning after this school term and I cannot guarantee you that my successor will be as friendly.”
“Thank you, Minister,” Harry said, bowing himself out.
A/N: Forma Era is a Latin word. ‘Forma’ is Latin for Beauty and ‘Era’ is Latin for Mistress. This places Era by name as a Mistress of Beauty, hence Riley’s infatuation with her.