Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 100

Harry was quiet, watching Hannah interact with a remarkable lack of concern for people's houses. He'd have to ask her about that, she was displaying more maturity than ... well, most anyone else.

Hermione was near Magryta, showing her - again - how to create the appropriate sounds to cast the spell. Harry tuned them out almost absentmindedly. He noticed that a lot of the Gryffindors were looking mutinous...

Now was that upset at having to relearn, or upset that the Slytherins were learning about it?

Harry approached them (disliking the glares that he was getting - really, it wasn't like he'd actually kissed a Slytherin, even.), but instead of looking at them, he focused on the rest of the room, letting his eyes glance off knots of people.

"What's wrong?" Harry asked.

"We already know how to do this, Harry," Nevile said quietly.

"So, you're going to play telephone." Harry said, his mouth splitting into a wide grin.

"Telephone?" Seamus asked, still sounding suspicious.

"Yeah, telephone!" Dean chimed in. "Look, you can all cast Patronuses, right?"

"Patronii" Nott said from nearby, and Dean looked over with a shrugged "whatever."

"So, we're going to start passing messages. In a circle around the room."

"What good'll that do?" Tina asked, her tiny voice ringing out from behind Parvati.

"It's a game. Doesn't need to "do good" " Dean said roughly.

"It's for fun, sure," Harry said, noticing Ron coming over to join the group. "But the point of the game is... well, you'll see."

They split up, equidistant around the room. Harry noticed Malfoy eyeing Seamus and Ron as they took up positions behind his back. Harry flicked his wand, spelling the incantation precisely, thinking about his father, and how much he'd loved Harry. A silver stag stood in front of him, and he said to it, "The skyline was beautiful on fire, all twisted metal stretching upwards, everything washed in a thin pinkish haze." As he watched the stag leap towards Rickard, Harry turned towards the rest of the room.

Malfoy was looking at him, those silver eyes of his flashing, "Pretty words, Potty. Didn't think you knew half of them."

"It's a song." Harry said, flushing slightly, though he really did know the lyrics well.

"Must be a muggle song," Malfoy drawled, "Only they'd sing about something so gloomy."

"When dark's the only thing you've got, that's ripe for singing." Harry said, remembering days spent locked in a cupboard, where the only thought that rang in his head were scraps of songs.

"What would you know about the Dark?" Malfoy scoffed, his steely eyes arrogantly challenging.

"It's hearth and home to me." Harry Potter said softly, thinking back to days spent in the cupboard, and other days when the screams wouldn't leave him be, waking or asleep.

Malfoy closed his eyes and tried the Patronus charm again.

"Haven't got a happy memory, do you?" Harry Potter said, snickering as Malfoy turned blazingly angry eyes on him.

"Apparently not," Malfoy snapped, his generalized drawl evaporating completely.

"We'll have to do something about that," Harry said, speaking more to himself than to Malfoy, though he was sure Malfoy heard. Indeed, he wasn't the only one having a problem - by the end of class, only two Slytherins had managed the charm. The young William had turned a blindingly white smile on everyone in the room, though, casting the charm over and over again, his wolf spider flickering into being - once it got close enough to Ron to make him scream, which made William's joy quiet for a moment, as he came over to quietly apologize to Ron. Harry muffled a grin at the sight - good thing not all the Slytherins were Malfoy-level prats.

The other Slytherin was Goyle, and his corporeal patronus was a mooncalf, whose golden horns shone silver, and whose hoof stomping indicated that he was spoiling for a fight.

"Good class," Malfoy said to Hannah on his way out, "You'd better figure out how to teach happy, though, or everyone's just going to get frustrated."

They all waited until Malfoy was out of the room, and Hannah gave a big sigh, "He's right, you know."

"When I need to calm down a frightened creature, I generally sing to them," Goyle said slowly, "It calms them down, the patterns in the music..."

"So, you think we might could teach happy?" Harry put in.

"Yeah!" Boot said with a smile. "Why shouldn't we be able to?"

Hermione had that glittering look of unquenchable curiosity, and Harry just knew that she'd have a dozen ideas soon enough. "Let's meet before the next meeting, just us, and we'll figure something out."

Everyone was nodding as they left.

[a/n: Malfoy is a bit easier to tease about "insufficient mastery of magic". Hermione wouldn't take it well either, you realize?

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