Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 134

[Title's in honor of the crazy weather we've had this year. It ought to produce an upwelling sense of unease and dread.]

Nott was near the back of the group - quiet as ever, saying "Expecto Patronum" ... over and over. He didn't seem to be having any luck at all. And from the tense, nearly explosive look of his body, he was about ready to destroy something. Was this the first time he'd not managed a charm? Or was it just... what charm he wasn't managing. Did he think it ... meant something, like tea leaves?

Softly, as Milicent demonstrated her Patronus, which came and went like flashing light, Harry trod around the group. He had the rather vague awareness that eyes were watching him, and yet he didn't let on that he could feel that. More particularly, he didn't look to see who was watching. What he was doing wasn't that secret, after all.

Rosier's shimmering curtain seemed to wrap around her, and Bulstrode's older brother smirked as he managed, on the fourth try, to actually get it to work. Mostly. It fell like a firework, a big bright white ball and then falling sparks.

Harry was around halfway around, when Edwyne's patronus tried to form on top of him. It fell like a tricklewaterfall, and he cupped his hands below it, saying, "That tickles!" The sparks fell through his hands as if they weren't there.

This set off a tussle, a splashfight, as the pile of Slytherins found each other's patronii and began shoving, touching, playing with them as if they were water. Soon, they had figured out that only the spellcaster could actually interact with the Patronus. So they were doing mostly ineffectual ambushes and backstabbery and sheer and simply play.

Harry let this go on for a while, still walking around to the back - (Hannah was being singularly ineffective as a teacher, as she tried to get Zambini to splash her with his patronus.) Harry closed his eyes, mentally casting a muffling spell around the study group. Up his too long sleeves, His finger waved the correct wand position."Aquamenti!" Harry thundered from the back of the group.

"No need to be such a spoilsport, Potter." Daphne said reproachfully.

"Yeah, Gryffindorks ruin all the fun!" Pansy continued.

"Break time's over, time to focus. Everyone, from the top." Harry said, only to receive odd glances from half the purebloods. "Everyone, try it again, regardless of how well you did last time. Remember, the point of this is a corporeal patronus, even if you don't make it today, or next week. You've got the whole year, I hope and pray." Harry spat out the last part with a fervency that made a few Slytherins (most notably Draco Malfoy) look a dash taken aback.

Harry didn't let the looks bother him. He'd been getting strange looks since he was eleven, and at least these were deserved.

No, something else entirely was bothering him. He'd have expected... did expect, was expecting that there would be plenty more failures. This... this whole group, their success rate, spoke of putting a lot more than a few hours into training.

But...

But...

Given that, why had no one managed a corporeal patronus? Harry knew that finding the memory was difficult, but... everyone? His mind boggled at that one.

When all the normal options seem unfounded, look for the barely possible. Harry'd heard that someplace (probably Hermione) and he'd thought about it a lot beforer this day. Today, the unwelcome and ... understandable? conclusion was that the Slytherins were hiding their Patronus from the rest of us.

Wait, where had understandable come from?

Harry really didn't need anyone telling him he was getting more paranoid than the Slytherins. His own mind knew it well enough.

[a/n: the more you review, the quicker I get done with DA! I actually have plot for afters, I promise. Well, it's Ron's plot, so... those of you who hate Ron.

Leave a review!

2nd post tonight]