Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 154

They had everything set up, and Ron Weasley was waiting in the transformed Common Room for her to come down the stairs.

The rest of the galoots? They were hiding, so as to get the joy of her reaction, but not spoil the surprise.

So, when Lavender Brown (prompted, which is to say - kicked out of bed - by no other than Gin Weasley) walked down the stairs, she walked into a bouquet of flowers. Literally. There were daisies and poppies and roses (which is to say, the flowers the boys could manage to find), and there was Ron, in a surprisingly well tailored outfit, looking up at her adoringly. He had a simple necklace in his hands, and he offered it to her as he smiled weakly, "Will you go out with me?" He asked, almost bashfully but with that smile that Lavender adored.

"Of course!" she said, nearly leaping from halfway down the stairs into his arms. "Yes! Yes!" She said, plastering herself to him, (his hands were on her thighs, holding her so she wouldn't fall, as she did the best impression of a koala that Harry'd ever seen.)

"How'd you come up with all this?" Lavender asked, grabbing at the box of chocolates that was in the middle of the common room - clearly for her. "Cockroach clusters, my favorite! How did you know?"

"Hermione'd mentioned it," Ron said softly, "Erm... about two years ago." Ron wasn't about to tell Lavender that Neville was the one to remember the very exciting story about cockroach clusters exploding and winding up on top of Hermione's bed - not the spread, the silk canopy.

Dean popped out from where he was hiding, rubbing his head, "Erm... we may have helped a little, but I do want to say this was all his idea." Which it was, sort of. Ron had wanted to do something big to wow Lavender, because he wasn't thinking that he was good enough for her... but everyone had contributed both ideas and time and magic to the endeavor (Harry's part was mostly 'Dealing With Ginny.' as he had to convince her to do a favor for her prattish brother, always a dicey thing).*

Parvati was down the stairs by this time, laughing and clapping with her friend, hugging her too - and Colin-with-the-Camera was also down the stairs, shooting pictures of absolutely everything (including Dean and Seamus goofing off, as usual).

It was nice to have something turn out right, for once.**

By the time they were down to breakfast, Gryffindor House was merely cheerful, rather than "bouncy, happy, zoom, jump for joy!" Just as well, Harry thought, as a certain spiteful Snape might give them all detention for the crime of being happy. Speaking of Snape, Harry looked up at the head table, and didn't see him there. Harry thought back to the way Snape had been shielding his eyes with his hand. I wonder if his headache's gotten worse... Harry thought.

Harry let out a loud groan, as he realized - everyone of course looking at him now, "I've got detention..."

"With Snape?" Ron asked, and at Harry's nod, he responded, "Rotten luck that."

Lavender and Ron were sitting side by side, which meant that Harry was sitting beside Herimione, whose face was stuck in a book as usual. "Hermione." Harry said gently, "I'd like to talk with you after my detention."

"Library. Near the 1700's Goblin Rebellion." Hermione said, not lifting her nose out of the book.

The long, long way down to the dungeon seemed like it was designed to kill Harry's high spirits (probably a good thing, Snape wasn't the type to like happy). Still, a feeling of almost dread started to creep over Harry, until he suddenly realized that he'd forgotten yesterday to talk with Snape about something important.

Harry arrived (hopefully on time) and knocked at Snape's door.

No answer.

Harry took a deep breath, and knocked harder.

Half a minute went by and no answer. Harry cast a Tempus spell, and determined that he still had five minutes. He settled in to wait.

Five minutes later, Harry Potter knocked on the door, his curiosity getting the better of him, as he let his magic brush the wards. Strong as ever, those.

Still no answer though, and Harry was starting to get curious.

Two minutes passed, and then three, and then seven.

Finally, Harry knocked hard enough to rattle the doorframe.

And waited.

And waited some more.

It wasn't conceivable that Snape, of all people who cared about timeliness, would be late. Not for a detention, he had an example to set after all. ***

Harry knocked again, knowing that Snape was fifteen minutes late, and time was ticking. Then, an inkling thought started to rise out of his unconscious. This was a detention that Malfoy assigned, not Snape. He might have not told Snape (deliberately? ) about the detention.

Speak of the devil and he appears. Harry Potter thought, not pleased to see Malfoy sauntering down the hall. Malfoy in his home turf (Malfoy with appearances to keep, his inner conscience said), wasn't likely to be a good meeting, no.

"Potter," Malfoy said, his voice oozing cocksure confidence, "What brings you to the dungeon on this fine sunny day?" Malfoy's lips still seemed tight at rest, he had seemed that way at breakfast too... Was something wrong? Harry found himself thinking.****

"As if you don't know." Harry spat back, falling back into old patterns as if they were new again.

"Pretend I don't." Malfoy drawled.

"You assigned me a detention, and Snape hasn't shown." Harry Potter said, the rest of the words dying on his tongue as he saw Malfoy's eyes widen slightly. This was new to him. Maybe he's not so much in the know as he thinks he is.

*Harry, being harry, hasn't asked why he was the one selected for that task. Oblivious much?

**famous last words.

***Snape's capable of powerplaying with time, and Harry's aware of that. Just... not for a detention. That'd be silly and counterproductive.

**** Yes, harry, something's wrong. your existence, specifically.

[a/n: Conversation continues next chapter. second chapter of the day. Leave a review?

Any guesses as to where snape is?]