Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 167

From a point near the door, Ron laughed, and it came out cold. "What, him practice? Are you sure you aren't the one poppin' something?"*

"What's he doing here, anyway?" Malfoy said directing it toward Granger, "Don't tell me, he came to get a piece of me." Malfoy's eyes sparkled with malice, as he looked over at Ron and said, "Hey-lo, sugar," batting his eyelashes at Ron Weasley.

For a wonder, Ron just plain ignored Malfoy's baiting, turning to look at Harry. "You're right, though, he doesn't look... right." Ron pivoted, piercing eyes suddenly hard, "Why do you care, anyway? Since when?"

Malfoy balanced on his heels, lacing his hands behind his back, "Oh, I don't - not like that, at any rate. If he's too dumb to fight, well, I don't think it'd be quite the wise move for me to murder Harry Potter."

"You mean to fight for real, or nearly so." Hermione Granger said, her voice the melodious sound of reason.

Draco Malfoy merely looked over and nodded.

"Alright," Harry said, nearly growling it, though there wasn't a trace of anger in his voice, making it sound grim and bleak. "Wake Me Up."

Draco Malfoy responded with a razor thin smile, his wand in his hand before he'd even assumed battle stance.

Harry Potter knew the practical way to settle the fighting children. Do what they came here for. As they fought, he slipped more into the "on the tiptoes of your feet" mental stance, slowly - ever so slowly - bringing himself out from the doldrums where he had been buried.

By the time the fights were ended, they were half bruised (luckily little blood, and most of it concealable. "Shite, Lavender's going to think I..." Ron muttered at the end, and Hermione gave him a deadly glare. What was that about, Harry thought, as he dressed his wounds with the practiced hand of an old soldier. Malfoy was more of a brat about it, of course, bemoaning every fresh bruise on his pale skin. Of course, they would show up more distinctly on it.

With a bit of spring in his step, Harry walked back to the Tower, humming, "Hey Jude." Harry hadn't listened to much music at the Dursleys, but when the car radio was on, it was always an oldies channel, and so, despite no conscious effort, he'd had nearly a hundred songs memorized. He'd liked the songs he'd heard, too. He wished there was more music at Hogwarts. Hell, music might even make a Slytherin smile.

*Ron's talking about popping potions. Sorry if the slang doesn't come across well.

[a/n: Does anyone want a music-related plot? I was just struck by how much Hey Jude sounds like something you'd sing to a Slytherin (and it makes more sense if that's a nickname for Judas, doesn't it?). So, if someone wants it, I'll run the plot, but I wasn't originally intending too.

Ron's not naturally "awesomely sneaky" - but he's got older brothers, and he's not half bad.

Reviews make me want to write more.]