Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 125

"And aren't those words so easy to say, don't they sound so right?" Snape said, his voice turning into that lilting tone he often used during Potions class, coaxing the class to attention rather than demanding it like McGonagall did. "I'll tell you once, and I'll tell you true. It's far easier to say than do." Harry heard the musicality in the words, and hoped - rather irrationally, he figured - that Snape wasn't casting something hideous on Ernie. Surely, he wouldn't...?

"But far worse than the doing, children, is the stopping. Ever pounded a person's face bloody?" Snape snapped. "Malfoy, Potter, get up here. Both of you have pounded the other's face bloody - or worse."

Harry swallowed, his mouth drying up. His lips thinned, and he stalked forward, with fists at his side so tight they might draw blood. His eyes screamed defiance at Snape.

Malfoy, in contrast, slid forward like a snake, appearing before his mentor with only the slightest twitch of his errant pinkie to suggest that he was anything other than pleased to be called to answer questions.

Snape turned his head, cocking it a little, as he looked at the two "enemies", studying them intently. "When did you know to stop?"

Both Malfoy and Harry Potter were silent, Harry because, he was belatedly realizing, he'd often not been able to stop - there'd been people pulling him off Malfoy, as often as not. He'd... he'd never actually wanted to kill Malfoy, not really for truth dead (smashed up and sent to the infirmary for a month, sure). Snape was right, he really did have an anger problem.

"As neither of you are dead, surely this must have come up at some point?"

"I heard your boots, sir, and I knew that you'd look most unfavorably if I cast such dishonor on my house as to have killed a fellow pupil." Malfoy said, smiling ingratiatingly.

"While it is true that the Honor of House Slytherin would have been most unforgivably sullied by such a deed, have you never stopped to think what harm you do your House by squabbling like a street rat?"

Draco Malfoy's eyes went wide. Harry saw, because he was watching intently, but he figured most of the class didn't, as they weren't watching. That - that looked like it struck home. At the very least, it meant something.

"Same here, Snape. Without you approaching, it might have ended... badly." Harry Potter said, putting enough effort into not calling Snape sir, as that would be out of character.

"Detention, Potter, for your cheek." Snape said, his voice flowing like molasses, the rest of his face impassive.

[a/n: Review? Street rat is more of a muggleism, but it's descriptive enough that people aren't going to have trouble following.

Second chappie of the day.]