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Know Your Worth
#1
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After Easter, 1890 — Dungeons
@Cordelia Fawley

You don't know your worth
All the things I know that you deserve

To those that knew her, it came as no surprise that Cassia wasn’t the most academically-gifted of students. With her tendency to daydream in class and her performance being in proportion to her interest in the given subject, her grades aside from a few were average at best. But she was making more of an effort to change that this year. After seeing how proud her parents had been of Cordelia for her stellar OWL scores, it made her determined to try and receive the same kind of praise for her own exam scores at the end of the year, and then perhaps she wouldn’t appear so useless in their eyes. While she understood that intelligence wasn’t usually equated to how well one did in school, she still couldn’t help but feel that the trait that seemed to grace her family had skipped over her entirely, and it made her parents look at her differently - and not in the way she wanted, sadly.

Fortunately, for all that Cora took pride in her own intelligence, her sister never made her feel that she was inferior and was likely her biggest champion in conquering her goal this year, and was more than willing to help her study. A daunting - and often frustrating - undertaking, Cassia was sure, but her sister seemed to bear it with an impeccable amount of patience, and she was positive that were she any other student, Cora would have eventually lost her cool.

The potion had to be stirred counterclockwise for three minutes, and Cassia was currently stirring with a sort of mindlessness as her mind wandered past the dungeons to outside where the grass was a vibrant green and where the sun awaited her with the promise of warmth. A place infinitely preferable to the dark and chilly dungeon in which they now sat; why most Slytherins - including her father - were so eager to spend their school years in an environment that was cold and damp was unfathomable to her. It seemed unnecessarily miserable - which likely explained, among other reasons, why she wasn’t sorted into Slytherin in the first place, but still...

Her mind continued in this vein until, suddenly, a slender hand reached out to stop her stirring, and Cassia realized that she’d gone over the three minutes. “Ah, sorry!” She quickly apologized, her cheeks coloring slightly, though she was sure Cora was used to this by now. She took a peak into the cauldron, the potion didn’t appear to look any different before she’d started stirring it, but she turned to Cora anyway. “It’s not ruined, is it?”



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Being a Prefect came with its perks, not to mention an amazing Prefect's bathroom. Among them was the fact that teachers seemed to trust her more and it was easier to submit her name to reserve classrooms for practice. She'd managed to get her and Cassia a classroom to practice Potions; a subject Cora knew Cassia struggled with. Seeing as she thrived in the subject, she was more than happy to pass down her knowledge to her sister.

They'd been doing a few smaller batch potions so Cassia could get used to some of the easier potions instead, and Cora had felt content to immerse herself in a book while Cassia attempted a more complex potion like the Calming Draught. It was a simple enough potion, or so she thought so but it was when she caught the scent of burning lavender that she looked up from her book to find her sister staring off into the distance. Half exasperated, half impressed that Cassia had managed to drift off and still be stirring so methodically, Cora hopped off her stool and walked over to her sister.

"Cassia," She said, a resigned but gentle tone in her voice as she reached over and took hold of her sister's hand. Given how Cassia had reacted she seemed pretty deep into her thoughts and Cora chuckled slightly as Cassia jolted out of her reverie.

She looked into the cauldron with her sister. Once Cassia had stopped stirring the potion lost some of its sheen. She took the ladle and gave it another stir. At once it thickened and Cora grimaced slightly. "How much lavender did you use, Cassie?"


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The grimace that crossed her sister’s face as Cassia peered over her shoulder didn’t give the Hufflepuff any reassurance that her potion was up to par, and neither did the question that soon followed.

“The book said one whole flower,” Cassia answered, pointing to the large tome beside the cauldron, the instructions inked into the yellowing parchment, “which I believe is 1 ounce, perhaps?” This was spoken a bit questioningly as, in truth, she had guesstimated that answer to the best of her ability.



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"A whole flower..." Cora echoed, now struggling with the potion that had gone past thickening and into gelatin. She sniffed the cauldron once again before pursing her lips in thought and glancing down at the remains of ingredients on Cassia's cutting board.

One ounce should be quite correct, which was the silver lining that meant that Cassia had followed the instructions. But it didn't explain for the burnt lavender smell that was quickly rising from the cauldron. "Then how...." Cora asked, half to herself half to the room at large. She let the ladle go, which given the gelatinous texture merely stayed put, and turned her attention to the cutting board. She reached out and pulled the tome towards her, peering down at the directions. "Oh!" She looked back up at her sister, a Eureka! expression on her face. "Did you dice the lavender or grind it into the powder?"

That was always a step that Cora forgot. Grinding yielded much better results as opposed to the dicing, so she figured it might not have been Cassia's mistake that was the cause of the rather sticky formula that had ended up in the cauldron.


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"Diced," she mumbled as the heat rose to her cheeks, feeling a little embarrassed yet kicking herself. Of course grinding would yield better results than dicing; it was a simple enough concept that was taught to first yearswhy couldn't she get that through her head?

Releasing a defeated sigh, Cassia sank back into her chair, a frown on her lips. "What can be done for it now?," she asked. If anyone would know, it would be Cora.



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#6
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"Grinding the lavender yields better results and might be why it ended up the way it did." Cora commented lightly as she propped her chin on her hand and looked at the cauldron. She hadn't given much thought about what to do with potions if she messed them up. Usually it was best to just chuck it and start all over, but was here a way of reversing potions?

"Best just throw it out," She said, just to be safe. "I haven't much experience reversing potions but I'm sure it'll come up in our studies sooner or later." Cora turned to her sister and gave her an encouraging smile. "Cheer up, I've done this plenty of times before, Cassia, it just takes some practice." Cassia was smart, but Cora knew she was insecure sometimes.


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#7
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Cassia tried to muster a smile at her sister's words of encouragement and succeeded in giving a small one though it didn't quite reach her eyes.

"I know," she said with another soft sigh, brushing a stray dark curl behind her ear as she stood up from her chair, wand in hand. "I just don't understand why I'm so hopeless at Potions. It can be a bit discouraging sometimes, to be honest." She continued, a bit sadly, vanishing the contents of the cauldron with a small flourish of her wand.



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#8
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Cora sighed with her sister, drumming her fingers against the desk as she thought. She knew this was hard on Cassie; and it was hard for Cora to see her sister so discouraged. "You're good at other things, Cassia." She replied, turning to face her. "Better at divination and herbology than I am!" Cora reached out a hand and placed it on Cassia's. "And you're good at potions. It just takes some time for you to understand concepts, and that's okay." She smiled encouragingly.


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