Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 117

Without wands, Harry Potter was clearly better at casting than Hermione - only stood to reason, she'd started later, after all. But what Hermione lacked in precision and deftness, she made up for in raw power. Standing anywhere near where Hermione was casting was proving to be a costly endeavor - shields had this nasty tendency to develop cracks - and water or wind or flame penetrated cracks remarkably easily.

Hermione gave a cackling laugh, and Harry somersaulted across the floor, diving to avoid her next wave of magic. As he did so, he envisioned cracks forming under where she was standing. Hermione, not having paid attention to her footing, let out a shriek as she fell a foot deep into the floor. Harry'd have to work on that, a full fathom would be better.

*click*

They had both heard it, and each thought the other was responsible. As one, both rolled sideways (Harry summoning a statue of Dionysius to protect himself, hermione flattened herself like a tapeworm towards the ground), shooting live, electric sparks, that forked like lightning as they sped across the room.

They both caught the flash of blond hair as the door in the wall abruptly slammed, the electricity slamming into the door and leaving woodscars.

Hermione and Harry looked at each other, faces pale. Harry's heart dropped out of his chest with the thought that Draco Malfoy had seen their practice. He could tell that Hermione's pallor was not for the same reason, though - she was undoubtedly concerned that they'd almost - something - to Malfoy.

Harry stood, wanting to cradle his head in his hands, "You can emerge from your hidey hole, Malfoy."

"Safe Passage?" The blond asked, his drawl nearly lost in the adrenaline.

"Safe Passage." Harry said with a sigh.

"Conditional on Good Behavior." Granger said snottily, because Hermione always had to be right.

Draco Malfoy came out, his hands up, and his sleeves fallen to his elbows - revealing nearly bluewhite skinny arms. Unmarked arms. Harry Potter had his arms crossed, his wand clearly visible. Not that he'd need it to cast, but a threat was blatant only if you made it so. Hermione had her hands on her hips, and nearly growled at Malfoy, "How did you manage to be in here?"

"I was here before you," Draco said smoothly, "Obviously."

"Then why did it conform to our requirements?" Harry bit back, irritated that he hadn't seen this coming. Of course, Malfoy was likely to spy on them - they'd have been better talking in the Common Room. Little chance of being overheard there.

"Because I asked it to." Draco Malfoy said.

"So there is a way around the one person sets the requirements rule!" Hermione gushed.

"Apparently," Malfoy said cooly.

"More importantly," Harry interrupted the conversation with visible impatience, "Why are you here?

"I... " Draco Malfoy said, sounding suddenly uncertain, "Came here to see what you were practicing. Learn something, maybe."

"So, you were just here to spy on us?"

"Nnnn-ooo..." Draco Malfoy said, as if he needed to consider exactly how to put this, "I could use the practice too you know."

"Want to get some hands-on arse-kicking?" Harry said, his cocky grin matching his greenlit eyes.

"You wish, Potter." Draco Malfoy said, straightening from the slouch he had fallen into. "I... I shouldn't have seen this, what you're doing here."

What. Harry found himself suddenly at a loss. Of all the things that Malfoy could have said, that would have been around the least likely, at least so Harry'd have said moments before.

Draco Malfoy turned his stormgrey eyes on the two Gryffindors, swallowing almost convulsively, and saying, "I'm going to need you to Obliviate me."

[a/n: yup, way more than Draco bargained for. Some secrets are dangerous even to their keepers.

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Fixed last chapter just a bit. Hermione wanted to poke Harry about Ginny.]