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Day Ten || Essence of ___

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“Today, class...we shall be looking into several herbs related to healing potions.” The smooth, almost slimy voice of the potions master carries over the dungeon classroom of both Slytherins and Hufflepuffs.

“Didn’t know I was signed up for a second herbology class,” Sasuke mutters, chin leaned in a hand. A few students snicker around him, earning a small smirk.

Orochimaru’s serpentine eyes look warningly to their favorite pupil. “Potions are inarguably tied to many subcategories of magic, Uchiha. Herbology, yes, is one of them. But rather than looking into how to grow or tend to these plants...we will be discussing their uses and harvesting methods in regards to brewing potions. Specifically those used to cure diseases, heal wounds, and otherwise mend abnormalities in the human body.

“First, we have dittany. An intriguing and somewhat rare plant that…”

Rolling his eyes with a small sigh, Sasuke finds himself no longer paying attention. Plants aren’t exactly his most riveting subject. And potions about healing aren’t really his forte, either. He’ll just get notes from a classmate later - no one ever refuses him. Hard to do that with someone with a family as old and renowned as his own.

Instead, said eyes take to wandering the classroom, looking over countless jars and stones he’s studied a thousand times before out of this same notion of boredom. He’ll snap back to it when they get to some actual brewing rather than a floral lecture.

Glancing across the aisle of desks to those mostly inhabited by the Hufflepuffs, he happens to find one especially notable. Scribbling frantically upon her parchment, a dark-haired witch he knows only as a Hyūga barely looks up as Orochimaru speaks, too involved in her writing. It’s not until the teacher holds aloft a sample that she peers forward, gaze intense before taking more notes.

...what a geek.

He vaguely remembers such enthusiasm from her in their shared Herbology class. Seems she, unlike him, finds the subject enthralling. If only she was in Slytherin...surely her notes would be top tier to copy, if not a bit excessive. And he’s not about to ask a Hufflepuff for notes.

A good twenty minutes pass into their hour block before they’re allowed to start brewing. Paired with a classmate he only faintly knows, Sasuke gives their parchment many a glance as they go about making a potion literally just called Essence of Dittany. At first, it seems simple enough...but it soon becomes clear his partner didn’t write everything down. By the end, he has a rather piss-poor potion.

Peering into the cauldron haughtily, Orochimaru lifts disgruntled eyes to their pupil. “Perhaps next time you’ll pay proper attention, Uchiha.” They write a note in their grade ledger before moving on, ignoring his glower.

“Tch…”

Whatever. He’ll leave healing potions to the Infirmary.

Once class is dismissed, he gathers up his supplies into his cauldron (having Vanished his half-assed potion) before heading toward the door. The professor calls out an assignment: one parchment on the plants they discussed in class.

Perfect.

“Hey.” Snagging a classmate by the shoulder, he spins them around. “After classes, let me have your notes.”

“What? Why?”

“I need to borrow them.”

They shrug out from under his hand. “Do the work yourself, Uchiha - sounds like you need it, eh?”

Bristling at the counter, there’s no time to rebuke before they’re gone in the crowded hallway. Fine then! He’ll do it himself!

With a blank period at the end of his day, Sasuke uses it to haul himself and his supplies to the library. He can’t even remember the last time he had to come in here. It’s only sparsely occupied, as he expected. Most prefer to do their work in their commonrooms, where friends and housemates can chime in and lighten the load. But Sasuke will admit he’s gotten a bit of a chip on his shoulder, now. He’ll write the bloody paper. And he’ll brew it again for Orochimaru tomorrow. Perfectly next time! Then they’ll see who’s in need of doing the work himself .

Pairing both his Potions tome and his Herbology anthology, he bounces between both references as a quill scribbles along the parchment. It takes him over an hour, but eventually he manages to scrape together a decent paper. Not his best work, but given the subject, it will have to do. Dinner’s started by now, but the dredge has left him a little lethargic. Pushing his chair out a ways from the table, he flops back against it, head craning and...smacking into a bookshelf behind him.

“Oh, bloody he-!”

Before he can even finish his swear, a book careens off the topmost shelf before nailing him square on the brow with its sturdy spine. There’s a holler as he feels skin split, hands groping at the wound that quickly begins to bleed down into his face.

“O-oh!”

Eyes squinted shut against both the pain and the mess, Sasuke doesn’t know who’s found him, but his pride stings nonetheless. An impressive string of curses dribbles from his lips.

“Here, h-hold still - I’ve got something that will help!” A hand carefully cradles around the side of his head, trying to steady him. “Just - just let me -”

Deciding to obey, Sasuke eases his hands from his face, waiting a long moment as the voice warns, “It will sting, but o-only for a moment.”

Oh, gr-

“Merlin’s beard!” he cries out as the liquid droppers onto his split brow. There’s a bright flash of pain before...it suddenly ceases.

His companion then gives a quick, “Scourgify” to clean up the blood, and he dares to twitch open his eyes. They blur for a moment before finding none other than the studious Hufflepuff from before. “...you…?”

“Are you all right?”

He sits up, gingerly pressing a finger against his skin. It’s whole now, and he can’t even feel a trace of a scar. “...what did you…?”

“Essence of Dittany. We, um...we brewed it in class today.”

Sasuke looks to her suspiciously.

She squirms a bit. “I...I knew I’d done it right, so...I might have taken a vial or two, j-just in case. And it’s good I did, or we’d have to haul you to the hospital wing instead.”

“...didn’t think a Hufflepuff would do such a thing…”

“It was my potion!”

“Yeah, and all the professor’s ingredients…” At her look, he can’t help a snort. “I’m not about to tattle on you, Hyūga. After all, can’t say I’m not glad you had it.. Pause. “...thanks.”

Her cheeks flush pink. “...you’re welcome.” Eyes flicker to his parchment. “...working on our assignment…?”

“Yeah, though…” He sighs. “Looks like I’ll have to rewrite it.” A hand gestures to a splatter of blood along the bottom. “Don’t think they’d appreciate that much.”

Lips purse thoughtfully. “Um...could you scour it…?”

“Maybe, but it might take the ink with it.”

“Oh...true.”

“Besides, at least I have it done. Just need to copy it over. I can do that after I eat.”

His companion nods.

“...you know, I don’t know your given name. Seems like something I should know, given you saved my ass.”

She can’t help a laugh. “We’ll, technically it was your forehead, but...you’re right, I suppose. It’s Hinata. And...you’re Sasuke.”

He just nods - there’s few that don’t know him.

“Well, I hope the rest of your evening goes better than this,” Hinata offers, smiling sheepishly.

“Me too.”

“Um...you know, if - if you ever need notes, you can always borrow mine. In truth, I’m usually rubbish at potions...at least, in brewing. But it seems you’re usually pretty good at it.”

“Except today.”

“Well...y-yes, but - if...if you would help me with brewing, I’d gladly lend you my notes when you need them.”

Sasuke blinks. “...sure. I suppose that’d be fair.”

“O-okay! Just, um...let me know when you need them next. For now though, I suppose we’d best to eat or there won’t be anything left!”

Sasuke almost notes the Hufflepuff proximity to the kitchens, but...restrains himself. “S’pose you’re right. Go on, then - I need to pack up.”

“...but -?”

“Go - I’ll see you enough later,” he rebukes, waving a hand. Only once she’s gone does he give his skin another prod. Doesn’t even ache. “...huh.”