Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 136

As Harry Potter and Theodore Nott reappeared from... wherever they'd gone, Harry's eyes immediately found Hermione, with her arms crossed, glaring daggers at Draco Malfoy. Malfoy also had his arms crossed, but looked haughty and arrogantly smug. Before he could even get out a word, Luna Lovegood poked him, "Solid. Very solid. 9 out of 10 solidity." Parvati looked at him hungrily, asking with a honey-drenched voice, "Were you two really...?" Lavender Brown elbowed her friend, and Pansy snickered, saying, "If so, that was pretty quick work..." Jessie, a younger Ravenclaw, looked at them wide-eyed, and asked, "Who was the..." before turning so beet red that she couldn't get the words out. Ron, behind the gaggle of girls, was beet red, and looked like he wanted to say - something! But, of course, he'd been rendered so inarticulate that no words were appearing.

Hannah gently cut through the confusion, asking Harry, "Did it work?"

In response, Harry merely nodded at Nott, and Nott gently cast the Patronus, his slow movements almost drawn through molasses. Even the silver rain he conjured fell slower than everyone else's.

"Well, that's one way to give someone a happy 'memory'" Lavender leered. (Beside her, Parvati whispered to Harry - "you're going to tell us allll about it, right? tell us everything!" Harry started to flush, as he started to - very belatedly - figure out what people had been implying. That was- okay, first of all, Harry'd never do that during class! And - with Nott? Harry didn't even know the bloke. And he was a bloke, after all, and that mean errughghhh. No! They'd been all of five minutes*, and that was all it had taken for the gossips to go kaka crazy.

"What worked?" Goyle asked, seemingly immune to all the subtext. Harry Potter, having seen a shred of intellect from the stalwart boy, suspected that he was simply choosing to ignore it.

"Nothing." Theodore Nott said, in a soft but firm voice that carried. "I thought of nothing, until everything else just wasn't there anymore. No distractions, no pain, no irritants." The last Theodore Nott said looking at Blaise Zambini, and even Harry Potter knew Slytherins well enough to know that wasn't a coincidence.

*actually ten.

[a/n: As an exercise to the readers: What was everyone doing while Harry was ... disappeared? I may have some of them fill in what they were talking about - Hermione especially, because she's the sort that loves to vent. But try to figure it out yourself.

... The room of requirement didn't exactly like the idea of having people be without access to exits, doors, or other people.

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