The awkward thing, mused Lily Evans, about having a partner is having to work with that partner.
Or not work, as the case happened to be. There had certainly been method to the madness of being partnered with Sirius Black; Slughorn seemed to think that Lily's own stellar record would drag Black's marks up. Lily was still baffled that Sirius had managed an OWL score good enough to be in NEWT-level Potions, and could only imagine that he'd charmed the presiding witch with a roguish grin and sleight-of-hand.
At least today, Sirius was quiet. Usually, he leaned across the aisle to gesture excitedly at Potter, who was paired with Remus--who, like Lily, would regard the whole affair with an air of resigned melancholy and get back to work. Today, however, Sirius and Marisa had had an unpleasant spat in the halls before class, and had somehow managed to Silencio eachother at the very same moment. Slughorn hadn't noticed, and the only ones aware of the problem were too amused to fix it. Lily figured it was to the benefit of much of the class to be without such a distraction as Sirius Black, though Severus had Finite-d Marisa after only a quarter of an hour.
Finally her prefect side got the better of her and she undid the Silencio on Sirius--without much fanfare, of course. As long as he believed he was still hexed, maybe he'd stay quiet. She focused again on her Advanced Potions-Making. The book was decent, mostly, but she found the author was sloppy in his directions. Cutting the sopophorous beans to get the juice? Ridiculous. She'd crushed them instead with the flat of her knife, and made a note of it in the text. Reading over the next few steps, she shook her head, and reached out across her cauldron to tap Severus on the shoulder.
"Does this seem over-balanced to you?" she asked, pointing at the page. Snape turned to face her and eyed her potions text. Seeing the steps indicated, he nodded.
"It will only take a clockwise after every seventh to get it right," he said, brushing stringy hair out of his eyes. With what could have been a smile on a more expressive person, he looked at her, adding, "How very Pureblood of you to notice, Evans."
She stuck her tongue out at him, recognizing the friendly teasing for what it was. "We're in agreement, anyway. I swear, I don't know who let Libatius Borage write this text--his technique is beastly! The sopophorous beans?" Severus nodded, grimacing in agreement, and returned to his cauldron.
As her Draught of Living Death was turning a deep purple colour, Lily happened to look up and caught his eye briefly. Surprised, she turned her attention back to her potion, and after another moment or two, she leaned forward and nudged Marisa's back.
"He's staring at me again," she hissed, gesturing at her potion.
Marisa glanced at Lily's potion, grimacing at the color. "Yours looks like Severus'," she complained, before seeing Lily's expression. "What? Who?"
Sirius Black leaned over and said in a low voice, "Come off it, Evans. It's not always about you and Potter."
She would have liked to hit him, but instead Lily shot a glare at her desk-partner. Marisa, however, seeing that Potter was indeed deeply involved in his own potion, and not staring at Lily at all, repeated her question.
Lily leaned closer to Marisa and whispered, "Slughorn!"
At that moment, Severus elbowed Marisa sharply. Looking at her imperiously, he said, "May I call your attention back to the task at hand, Ms. Sinistra?"
Rubbing her arm, Marisa turned back to her now-sparking cauldron, cursing quietly.
Lily sighed and turned back to her own work. She was beginning the next phase of the draught when a quiet voice at her left ear called her to attention. She turned to face it and drew quickly back--Sirius was very close by. Peevishly, she asked, "What?"
"I said, you're right." Sirius turned back to his potion, but continued quietly. "Slughorn is staring at you. But," he added with an air of feigned perplexedness, "Your blouse remains fully buttoned!"
This time, Lily did hit him.