Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 161

Harry Potter wasn't first to DADA, but he was far from last. He had been almost expecting to see Snape inside - even though he seemed to like arriving just in time to start class. Harry really wasn't sure what he expected. Was it the Professor lounging on a stiffbacked wooden chair, his lanky ungainly frame in some relaxed state? Or was it him leaning against a wall, looking smug and observing everyone as they entered?

Harry Potter took up residence half the room away from the entrance, his back against the wall. This time, instead of trying to figure out class dynamics, he just concentrated on assessing threats as they came in the door. The Hufflepuffs were assessed as being trustworthy - though since the girls had entered in a pack, Harry'd had to upgrade their threat level. Everyone knew Hufflepuffs fought well as a team - that even showed up in Quiddich, where innate talents could sometimes yield to raw determination and hard work. The Slytherins were the people who captured Harry's eyes the most, however - He'd have to learn some way to tell their danger level. It was tricky, as they were actively trying to hide it. You always had to wonder, were they merely being polite? Or was it an engineered trap?

Why couldn't it be both? Harry asked himself with a snap.

Cho Chang and the rest of the Ravenclaws, entering in pairs or solo, were assessed by how tightly they gripped their wand. Emotions seemed to hit the Ravenclaws worse than the rest of them, perhaps because they treasured intellect so much. With Gryffindors, emotions were expected, and thus everyone seemed to be quick to forgive - but the Ravenclaws? They looked on them with displeasure and dislike. Someone (like Luna) exhibiting overly many emotions was apt to be picked on, as indeed she had been.

Hermione was assessed nearly fully by her face, as was Ron Weasley - they were both volatile, and not good at hiding anger. And anger would be the only reason they'd be a threat to him, Harry thought firmly.

Snape flung himself into the room, his skeletal form sinking into his normally well-tailored clothes. "Today," He said, scampering onto the small podium. Strange, Harry thought, he doesn't seem almost to have noticed what a state he's in.

Snape continued, "We will be studying the Patronus Charm. Can anyone tell me what its primary use is?"

Ten people in the room raised their hands, and Harry was surprised to see that one of them was Seamus. Was he secretly someone who wanted a teacher's approval, yet didn't ever seem to work hard enough to gain it?

"Parkinson," Snape drawled, his birdlike form leaning over the lectern like a dipping bird.

"The Patronus Charm is useful for repelling Dementors." Parkinson said, her face schooled to a level of niceness that looked downright odd on her puggish face.

"Very good." Snape continued, "Here is the incantation. "Expecto Patronum!" " His wand moved in that oh-so-familiar, and practiced way. Snape's Patronus showed as a shimmer of silver light, falling.

"How many of you are able to cast a fully corporeal Patronus?" Snape asked, his eyes down on the lectern, looking at the papers he had entered with. So, Harry and everyone else from the Study Club (there had to be a better name, right? Somewhere?) saw that nearly the whole room was raising their hands. Ron and the Gryffindor boys (save Neville and Harry) wore identical matching grins, that seemed to say, "Take That!"

Snape finally looked up, "Here I have recorded -" Snape's mouth dropped open, and he slowly spun to take in the room. Well more than half the room had their hand up, though Harry noticed that none of the Slytherins did. Which was a flat out lie, but if Snape was going to criticize, at least it wouldn't be them - I bet that's their theory. Harry thought.

Snape's eyes had managed to bug out, as he looked around. As his gaze returned to the center of the class, Snape sent a stormy glare out, not at the Gryffindors in particular, but the entire class.

"Do you have any idea how much work it was to find these documents? Ten memoirs for even the minor mention of knowing this spell, and a hundred to get something worthy of reading?!" Snape roared. Harry blinked, remembering that he'd come to the conclusion that Snape wasn't actually angry when he was yelling.

Snape dashed the papers on the floor (the front row backed hesitantly backwards), and then set them ablaze, "I set you the readings, I gave you the syllabus! This was supposed to take the next month! You Dunderheads!" He was even stamping his feet (on the ashes that wouldn't go out to the white-cold gust of wind he had just chased that fire with). So this is what Snape chooses to do when he's clearly drained. Have a three-year-old's tantrum in the middle of class.

It took some time for Snape to calm his way down, and the smirks that the Gyrffindors were sending each other jangled Harry's nerves.

[a/n: up next, actual class. No, really. Not just a lecture.

I'd like to apologize for making some of my readers' heads hurt with the number of plots. Rest assured, some of them are winding down.

If there's anything I can do to help - I could post the "Open questions" or "running plots" if you like.

Also, I'm looking for new names for the former DA.

Please write me a review and tell me what you'd like to see!]