Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 123

Well, Harry Potter had tried to do his homework. But he hadn't used ten stinging hexes, and so he was kinda stuck. As a bit of a compromise, he had written a few other notations - some on other people's hexes, and - in a carefully detachable page, some notations on some work that he'd done outside of class. He was able to determine how quickly he could spell, and aim, and react to moving objects. As these were three different numbers, it was certainly an interesting exercise, particularly since they weren't separable variables. He'd done... enough. Or, if he hadn't done enough, it would probably be for reasons other than diligence. Lack of forethought, lack of planning, lack of creativity, perhaps? Well, something. Perhaps just marked favoritism towards the Slytherins and against the Gryffindors. And, man, it felt weird thinking that about Snape, after the summer he'd put Harry Potter through. Which was not to say that it was easy - it was grueling and punishing work. But that was the thing of it - it hadn't been about tearing him down at all.

Still, they were at school now, and a certain level of conduct was expected. If Harry were to deviate too far from expected, that might be something that more than just Hogwarts noticed. And like it or not, there were people on all levels watching him. Harry was used to this, however, even as he struggled against it. There were more than one reason why he'd been overusing the invisibility cloak, after all. (A far more cautious (or slightly more paranoid) person would have made certain that Snape never learned of it, for that matter).

"Place your homework in the bin." Snape said coldly, as he entered, the doors slamming shut behind him. "As you have all been marked as failing the first two assignments, I do hope you've managed to do this one perfectly. If you have, you will have achieved a 33% grade. Far short of passing, but still - better than all zeros." Around the room, a muttering took up, started by Gryffindors (like Ron) who clearly hadn't done the assignment well, and felt they were being shorted. It was picked up by the Ravenclaws, and the Hufflepuffs wanted to complain because they thought this wasn't really defense.

"Well? Does anyone have any objections to my teaching this class?" Snape snarled. "Put Your Homework in the Bin." Harry had been working his way through the crowd, and tried to ignore that the bin looked like a wastepaper basket.

Neville had already gotten his paper into the basket, and stood near Snape, trying (and failing) to look him in the eye. "Sir?"

Snape didn't speak, he merely looked down his long nose at Neville. But there was something in the openness of the gesture that encouraged Neville to say something. "Can you tell us what it was like in the first war? Since you were there?"

Snape's eyes flicked up, meeting Harry's instantly. Shite, he knows it was me.

Smirking softly, Snape said, "I do believe I shall," his voice like molasses, slow and bitter and black.

[a/n: I swear I won't have Snape speechifying every class. He is there to teach. Unfortunately. Leave a review? Second post of the day.]