Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 121

It was Tuesday evening, and Harry Potter was well away from both Malfoy and Hermione. In fact, he was sitting on his bed, idly paging through a Quiddich manual - one of Ollie's own creation. Wood had always cared too much about the game. Harry idly supposed that Quiddich tryouts would be the next weekend.

No, what he was really thinking about was an old adage - "fish who stop swimming die."

It was killing him, the uncertainty - the crazy, half-mad urge to ask Slytherins, "What the hell are you doing? What are you planning? What are your goals?" Harry didn't need to think that last one about Snape, he supposed, as his goals seemed well-contained. Malfoy was another story.

Asking him would be akin to waving a red flag and saying "I NOTICED! I Noticed Already!" Draco Malfoy couldn't help but respond to that with smug superiority. Certainly, Harry'd never get an answer to his question.

And, yet, even as he thought of all this, that adage kept leaping into his mind. It urged him to a Gryffindor's reckless action, to precipitous change. The Tower - rocks fall, everything dies.

He wanted to pace, to swoop on his broom. Too late, too late - he'd just get caught, and did he really want detention for something like that.

Let the steam out, just like a teakettle. Move, yes, but move like a small fish, peeking out of the coral, and then ducking back inside.

Well, that was a great idea in theory, but in practice?

Snape... whatever else Snape was up to (Draco was right, he was undoubtedly up to more with Granger's assignment than just the bare facts would warrant), he wanted everyone to think clearly about war. Harry had his class tomorrow. How to do it? Maybe...

"Hey, Neville," Harry asked, sticking his head out from the draperies (unreasonably glad that Ron wasn't there - he'd have bollixed up the whole operation.) "Does your grandma ever talk about the war? What it was like?"

Neville looked up from an advanced Herbology textbook. "Oh! Well, Harry, she doesn't, not really. She just gets this sad look on her face, sorta grim and dour, and shuts up. I figure a lot of warriors are like that - people on the front lines."

"You think-" Harry said, breaking off, "You think Snape knows?"

"Of course he does, he's certainly not the man to miss a battle. Bloodless like a vampire bat, but not the type to turn away from an opportunity to loose that anger."

"Think he'd tell you what it was like, if you asked?"

"That'd be the day... why don't you just ask him yourself?"

"Because I don't want detention. Look, why not try it tommorrow in class. He's more likely to take off points and less likely to give detentions."

"Ha-ary, I don't want everyone glaring at me because I got told off in class."

"Tell 'em I dared you. Then, when they find me, I'll tell them how I got the points... back."

"Back? How will you do that?"

"Flitwick's an easy mark, I'll try him first." Harry could only hope that he was doing the right things here. If there was any bright side to all of this, it was that he wasn't trying to keep any of this secret. Not really.

[a/n: write a review. Up next? Who wants Ron?]