Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 183

Harry Potter had gone back to bed, of course. The Slytherins would be there all morning, at least. He'd known, as soon as he saw how prissy-ass they were being, prancing around, that it might take them until sunset before they were done. Plenty of time for him to get some rest.

He was woken up, as usual, by Ron, who was - again, as usual - hungrier than the rest of the teenage boys combined. Harry stood, washed and showered as he was accustomed to - which is to say, quicker than a whistle. It wasn't a good idea to take up time or "precious water" in the Dursley household, and though after Quiddich he'd often take a proper shower, he generally didn't in the morning.

So he was down in the Common Room earlier than his mates. Earlier than Hermione, even, which was almost surprising until Harry remembered that she had slept on the couch waiting for him. He couldn't bring himself to feel guilty, even if he could have told her enough to make her not worry, it was most definitely a bad idea.

Neville was down next, with a sketchbook and a potted plant. Then Dean and Seamus, and Hermione and Lavender - who was, of course, looking for Ron. Ron came down in a flurry of robes, looking like a clothescolony had wrapped its cloth limbs around his entire body.

Ron made to escort Lavender out, his goofy awkwardness almost endearing - and that from Harry's own perspective. Lavender, who was head over heels, must have found it quite charming.

"I wouldn't," Harry said from a middle of the room couch with a clear view of the door. Harry continued, by way of explanation, "Not very romantic out there right now."

"What?" Lavender asked.

Ron, more suspicious, asked "What's wrong with the halls?"

"My detention last night, actually." Harry Potter said dryly.

"I'm surprised Snape didn't have you clean them all up afterwards!" Neville said, chuckling. Somehow Neville never got detention, the lucky sod. Points and more points taken off, but perhaps Snape had less patience with the chunky Gryffindor. An odd thought, because Harry would have sworn - last year at least - that Snape hadn't a lick of patience for him! Dumbledore had to have been getting an earful about the sheer impossibility of occlumency lessons...

"Nah," Harry Potter said, sprawled over the couch and letting his denial sprawl over the room, "He's saving that for his fifth year Slytherins."

"Blimey." Dean said, letting out a low whistle. "Remind me never to tick him off..."

Ron, looking more excited, said, "Who's got a bucket? We can pour something awful down, and they'll have to clean it up!" The room chuckled, or at least, everyone except Hermione and Harry laughed. The other people's cheer far outshouted the disapproving looks on both Harry and Hermione's faces.

"They're doing it without magic, Ron, isn't that enough?" Harry said, trying to smooth his voice out to not sound as challenging as his emotions wanted him to. Heck, they were all for decking his best friend - and, for what, really? An emotion that he'd had himself, time and again.

"Just leave it, Ron" Hermione said.

"Is there any clear way for us to get breakfast?" Ron asked.

Harry shrugged, "Not that I know of. Chess, anyone?"

Ron was always up for chess, and nobody else was starving, so it all worked out. Harry played a quick game, and then managed to quietly, for once, slip out of the Gryffindor Common Room.

He was headed toward the Owlry.

[a/n: Of course ron would come up with that! Leave a review, please?

p.s. Anyone who thinks that Snape has managed to train Harry into a little Snape-clone is enjoined to look at where Harry is sitting. Snape would sit, as always, with his back to a wall. In his line of work, paranoia is a livesaver.]