Spike dug through her stash, hunting for just the right ingredients to bring with her to Potions. The assignment was to bring something that was less than satisfactory and re-work it into a more pleasing configuration. "Sometimes," Professor Halliwell had drawled from beneath the black-draped portrait of Severus Snape, "One simply must work with what fate has handed one. It is not always possible to obtain the freshest possible wolfsbane harvested under the exact moment of the zenith of the full moon at the time of the plant's most auspicious potency. Sometimes, one simply takes what the market offers, and then it is the skill of the witch or wizard that determines the ultimate success of the spell."
She knew she had something perfect in her pile, the only issue was finding it . . . ah-ha. She pulled out three amalgamations, making a face as she did so.
The balls of annoyance. She had been delighted with the colors when she beheld them in the shop window, the yellow of the citrine, the auburn of the fox's fur, the brown of the oak gall. She had attempted spellwork with them several times, and each time, the battle between the organic and mineral (not to mention the wrestling match between the plant and animal) had torn the spell apart. "I need to create harmony between these divergent components," she sighed, as she began dismantling their current form and preparing them for Potions.
In the laboratory, Spike pondered the materials available.
A very basic Potions kit, she noted, with an irritated acceptance. You're not an ickle Firstie any more, she reminded herself. You need to be up for more challenging work. If you can't get the finest, best-quality ingredients to start with, then why would you expect to have a complete catalog at your fingertips? What can you do with what's in your hand, Schadelthron?
She sighed, picked up the chunk of resin. This will resonate with the citrine, and bring the oak gall some brightness. Into the cauldron. Next, the dove's blood, for warmth, and a drop of the lake water. Water brings harmony to disparate elements, as the universal solvent, and the element of patience. She tested her mixture on a scrap of parchment.
Yes. Yes, that should work.
She added acid to the mix, then carefully lowered her disparate ingredients into the potion, holding her breath. Nothing to do but to wait while it simmers.
Once the wandwork was complete -- the stirrings carefully timed, sunwise so many times, doesil so many more, figure eights, infinities, with the carefully counted paused between -- Spike removed her ingredients from the vat and hung them to dry in the sunlight.
She had to admit, once she returned to collect her property, that they had come out well. The amber and blood had warmed the oak gall, smoothed the citrine's edges, and the water had calmed the fox's fur. The new ingredients shone brightly together, chiming softly when she stroked it with one fingertip. She didn't know what she would create with the new ingredients, but they would be magnificent.