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Wallace Bixby for Sloane Bixby.
...tfw your little sister makes the house team before you do.
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The Can-Do Attitude
#1
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October 22nd, 1890 — Potions Classroom

On a scale of one to ten, with one being "why do I even try" and ten being "I think I might actually pass this OWL exam", Cam was hovering somewhere between a five and a six. It hadn't taken long to master most of the intro potions. First year stuff, maybe some second. He and Alice had managed most of them over the course a single weekend after going back over the basics of potion-brewing, while weekday evenings were dedicated to spending time with Sloane... studying more potions. It was not the most romantic occasion, but hovering over a cauldron in the back corner of a classroom was an easy, excusable way to sit in close proximity.

"I wish someone had bothered to tell me I was stirring my potion wrong four years ago," he complained as he stirred their third attempt at the potion Professor Valenduris had assigned that week, this time using the proper wand movement. It made a difference, but not much when in the first two attempts he'd mixed up the proportions.

He yielded the stirring to Sloane to rummage through his notebook, which was too new-looking for his tastes and also too neat; he'd been too afraid to touch it since Alice got his hands on it.

"Tell me the truth: do I still look like I have no idea what I'm doing?" He wanted the answer to be know, but he knew in his heart that it was most likely yes. Some things changed overnight; academic success was not one of them.

@Sloane Bixby



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#2
This was kind of miserable, company aside (with that she was thrilled) but honestly Sloane hated Potions with a passion. Only Cam could get her to want to try and do better— and it wasn't even for her! Certainly she would benefit from it, but really did she need anything more than an A? That was the goal, but Cam needed an O to continue on next year and that felt like a stretch.

Still, she would do her best to help him practice, even if it meant setting up a cauldron in the Potions classroom and trying to help him figure this out. "I wasn't there four years ago, can't blame me." She teased. His first year must have been dreadfully boring without the entire gaggle of girls that had come in the year after. Whatever had he and Ned done with themselves?

Paying attention to how he'd ben stirring, Sloane took over. "I think you lack confidence. It'll get better with practice. We've never bothered so of course it's not easy. Once it becomes second nature it won't be so bad. Just like practicing a quidditch skill." Some of if was muscle memory after all. Not unlike charms or wand movements, they would get better slowly but surely. The real question was, would it be enough by his exams?



[Image: 3i2YX1.png]
holy shirt this Stef set ♥
#3
She hadn't been there four years ago, and nowadays he wondered how he'd survived his first year without the group of friends he'd now established. Things weren't perfect, but it was still better than his first-year self trying to pave his way in the magical world without much guidance. Ned had been there, but it hadn't been the same before the girls arrived to glue their friend group together. (To be honest, he'd thought Ned to be the biggest nerd in first year—and not in a good way.)

Sometimes he wondered what life would have been like if Sloane and the girls had been in his year. Would he have made the quidditch team? Him and Maddy would have been closer, no doubt, given how he'd met her for the first time the summer before he started school. Even if he had made the quidditch team, it was possible that Maddy would have been captain over him this year. Apart from what the beginnings would have looked like, the end of school would surely look different. He was now almost too aware that he'd be spending one year after graduating away from his friends and away from Sloane. That's why he needed good NEWTs and a good job to keep him occupied (or that's what he told himself).

"Well, can't blame myself now, can I?" he teased, remembering how he'd approached Potions class first year—that being, not at all. He'd avoided the subject for the most part in favor of more exciting classes like Flying and Defence Against the Dark Arts. "I'll say it was Ned's fault," he added, nudging her gently with his shoulder.

He watched her stir the potion. Would this one be any different than the last? He wanted to believe that he'd get better, but it seemed that every potion, one after another, turned out wrong no matter how carefully he read the directions. What if he was destined to be awful at Potions like metamorphmagi were naturally inclined towards Transfiguration? What if it was in his blood to be terrible?

She was right. He lacked the confidence. He grumbled in response. "I hope you're right," he murmured, jotting down the type of notes Alice had recommended. It was easier to grow from his mistakes if he knew what they were, right? "I wish we could suffer together. Next year we're going to be so out of sync." Then they'd have one more year together, and then... done. No more late-night quidditch practices, no more breakfasts, no more feasts and no more making faces at each other during group exercises in class.



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#4
Sloane cast him a look so that he should know he couldn't blame Ned either. Her lack of interest in Potions wasn't helping either, she realized, and so she watched him take notes. "See, you've already made some changes." It looked suspiciously like the one Alice had, but that was a good thing, she was the one who could get him to pass if anyone could.

"I'm always right," She teased again, though it was far from the truth. Failing to do well in Potions was not her only flaw. Those were becoming more and more apparent the older she got.

Every mention of the future that would inevitably separate them at times, next year being in different classes, one more year together and then he wouldn't be at school anymore and well, she wasn't going to think on it much. She'd deal with it came, obviously but she wasn't looking forward to it, not in the slightest. "Well, my pretty face won't be a distraction in class at least?" It was easier to joke about it than to actually think about how weird it would be.



[Image: 3i2YX1.png]
holy shirt this Stef set ♥
#5
He had made some changes—ones he'd totally forgotten to mention to Sloane. He peeked up and smiled sheepishly at her. "I may have told Alice," he admitted, glancing back down at the nearly-empty journal. He had a long way to go before he'd even gotten into the habit of filling his notebook, let alone succeeding with it, but that's what Alice was for. She'd keep him accountable. "She's got me using her organization system. Just so you know, she's crazy." Crazy, but smart. Smarter than he'd ever be.

A downcast expression settled on his face. He didn't want to think about what classes would look like without her. She was right in a way. She was a distraction, but it was the best kind; her presence made the worst classes bearable, and the fun ones that more fun. He frowned and shot her a sideways glance as he continued scribbling his notes. "I'll miss your pretty face," he said, a little to soft and a little too tender for the setting. Somewhere behind them another pair of students worked, and somewhere in the office behind the classroom the professor was preparing lessons. "And everyone else, of course," he added, a way to diffuse the tension and brush away the sadness he was now beginning to feel.

Meanwhile, their potion began bubbling.



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#6
"Crazy smart." Sloane correctly with a smile. It was good he told Alice, she'd be able to help him better than Sloane could. All the diminutive metamorphmagus could do was provide a little healthy competition. "It's a good step in the right direction, helping get you organized." Something else Sloane was not.

Smiling softly at him, she nearly blushed. She wasn't used to comments like that yet— mostly because she didn't think herself pretty. Not classically like Sisse or Calla, nor with that pretty red hair like Alice. No she was short, and had freckles everywhere, her hair was a plain, mousy brown, and then of course the constant malfunctions with her meta abilities and everything that entailed. What he saw, she'd never know, so she just looked away, at the bubbling potion, expression turning to one of confusion.

"Is it supposed to be bubbling already?" She thought they had to add another ingredient before that started.



[Image: 3i2YX1.png]
holy shirt this Stef set ♥
#7
"Crazy," he repeated, wondering if Alice had ever shared with her dorm-mates the extensiveness of her organization system. Cameron was certain that the redhead could've planned his entire career if she'd been confident enough in his grades. Which she was not. Not yet. "If I would have given her more time I'm sure she could have figured out what age I'll be when I get my own home," he joked, though the more he thought about it he wondered if she really could. Maybe he would ask about that sometime.

He returned her smile, noting her lack of reply as a good thing. She didn't refute him, even if she looked away. He still remembered how she once compared herself to Miss Bonaccord, claiming she was prettier and richer and everything Sloane thought she'd never be. His eyes turned to the potion, which was beginning to bubble a bit too early.

"Um..." he began, a panic rising in his voice. He flipped through the potions book with urgency, trying to find that specific step. Nope. Was definitely not supposed to be happening right now. "What color is it?" he asked worriedly, standing up in order to get a better look at the brew.



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#8
Sloane was so thankful to have smart friends. She could do alright in classes that interested her, which would be enough to get her through school and for something after quidditch, but when it came to classes she didn't like, she was not helpful. At all. "She and Ned will be able to get you through it." Of that she was sure.

Turning her attention back to the potion, Sloane peered warily into the cauldron. "Still purple, it's supposed to be purple." That she remembered from reading through the directions. "Maybe I'm stirring too fast." Had it said to go slowly? She thought she'd kept the same speed as Cam, but hadn't strictly been paying attention during conversation.



[Image: 3i2YX1.png]
holy shirt this Stef set ♥
#9
Cameron hoped so. He could map out his own future without Alice or Ned, because healing was more of a predictable career than quidditch. Students interned at the hospital after graduation, and a year later they were healers. They could switch wards, but it wasn't a career-halting move. Quidditch, on the other hand, was more exciting but twice as dangerous and half as lucrative. As much as he loved quidditch, and wanted to be a quidditch player, the decision to forsake his NEWT scores could backfire with a career-ending injury at age twenty. Then what would he have? His stomach bubbled at the thought—much like their potion.

Cameron peered into the potion, watching the bubbles. Nope, it was definitely too early; he still had the lacewing flies ready to go. He turned to Sloane to say as much, but the potion decided it was going to get a word in before him. It let out a deep rumble, almost like a growling animal, and then began spilling over the edge of the cauldron in a goopy purple mess.

Then, it jumped out at them. Because of course it would.



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#10
So much for her attempt to help him get better at potions.

The cauldron started to bubble over— and Sloane got splashed with scalding hot liquid. Where had her normally-quick reflexes on that one? She hissed out a response, stepping back from the table entirely, one hand covering the burn blistering on her forearm. She could feel the burn sinking into her skin and it stung. Just how many times was she going to end up in the Hospital Wing in the first couple months of school?

Then of course it jumped and Sloane was already flat against the wall behind her. The look on her face was not exactly panicked, but she was quite concerned with the apparent movement of the anthropomorphized potion. She cast Cam a helpless sort of shrug and started to scoot along the wall away from the potion lest she get herself burned again.

"I don't think this is working out the way we intended."



[Image: 3i2YX1.png]
holy shirt this Stef set ♥
#11
Cameron went wide-eyed as the potion began to splutter, sending a splash of liquid in Sloane's direction. He held out a hand as if to steady or comfort her, but the visible bumps on her arm gave him pause, and a sudden wave of guilt followed. Merlin, this was all his fault. He stood from his mouth and moved away, watching the potion bubble higher and higher until it jumped and landed in a solid goopy pile on the floor between them.

"Sloane, I'm—" he began to apologize, but the potion moved again—this time in his direction. "I'm beginning to think I wasn't meant to work with potions," he hissed out, the potion making a move for his ankles. He made a dash for Sloane, grabbing at her wrist to tug her towards the door.

"No more today, okay?" He didn't think she would argue.



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#12
Sloane let out a loud whimper of protest when he grabbed her wrist, the burn spreading further than she'd originally thought, having gotten both forearms, one worse than the other. She watched the potion carefully and moved far enough away with Cam before stopping. They weren't the only ones in the room, they couldn't exactly just leave it. She glanced over her shoulder at the other pair of students who were now watching them with mixed amusement and mild terror, as the potion made for Cam's ankles.

"We have to clean it up." She insisted, reaching for her wand and praying the new Hawthorn would cooperate better than it had in the past. They could get everything cleaned up and then they could start again. One setback couldn't possibly derail the entire process.

"Glacius!" She cast, hoping the water freezing charm would also apply to this moving potion. Otherwise they'd probably have to holler for the Potions Master to help them clean it up.



[Image: 3i2YX1.png]
holy shirt this Stef set ♥
#13
Sloane was mad. Absolutely mad. He gawked at her, his gaze dropping down to the burn mark on her wrist that he was certain had to be hurting right about now. The other students watched in amusement, but Cameron knew they'd deal with the potion-blob if it began acting a little too rambunctious.

Fortunately Sloane managed to cast the glacius charm just as he was preparing to abandon the project, leaving it frozen on the floor. "You need to go the hospital wing. I'll get it cleaned up," he argued, unwilling to take no as an answer at this point. He closed his hand around her uninjured wrist and began leading her out of the potions room and into the corridor.



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