Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 184

Draco Malfoy was not having a good day. In fact, it was a downright shitty day. He rather belatedly wished he hadn't put it quite like that, as it was literally owlshit that he was stuck cleaning. It didn't make it much better that he didn't have to wade through muck and mire, rehabilitating the hallways.

He was cleaning, and Without Magic. Worse, he had been commanded to do so by Snape, so there really wasn't anyone who he could complain to. The Slytherins were all in the same boat, and not interested in listening to him complaining about their Head of House anyway.

And with everything he'd gotten away with, over the years, it really wouldn't be productive to complain to the Gryffindors. The Hufflepuffs might sympathize, but they wouldn't understand. Malfoy was fairly certain they'd never had a detention this horrid.

So, of course, hours into a detention that looked like it might last to infinity, Harry Potter pops out of the woodwork. Joy. Come to gloat, have we Potter? Draco barely bit his tongue on that sharp remark. But in the past year, he'd been rather working on his ability to not spit out exactly what he was thinking. A Slytherin should be subtle.

"Bet you're regretting making me do three detentions for the price of one, aren't you?" Harry Potter grinned, his cheeriness simultaneously irrepressible and completely inappropriate.

What? Draco Malfoy thought, a bit confused. Potter wasn't responsible for giving me detention - and certainly not the Owlry. Oh. OH. Draco belatedly realized what was running through Potter's head. "I regret nothing. Although I would be obliged if you wouldn't mention my role in this fiasco to the rest of the Slytherins." Draco paused for a moment, then ventured, "They're the ones cleaning up your mess."

"True." Harry Potter said, grinning that once-again irrepressible grin. It made Draco Malfoy want to punch the poor soddin' bastard in the mouth. Couldn't he see that someone was miserable here? "I'm sorry, it's just that I've never seen you get punished worse than I have, for any infraction - up to and including nearly killing me."

"When did I nearly kill you?" Draco Malfoy asked, trying hard and not quite succeeding at sounding unquerulous.

"Third year. Remember dressing up as a Dementor?"

"That wouldn't have killed you..." Draco Malfoy said dismissively.

"A fall from that high up? It was a good thing I had my wand in my sleeve - you know what happens when people go all sidesaddle on a broom." *

Draco Malfoy scoffed, saying, "By that line of reasoning, I've nearly killed you... dozens of times."

Potter, Merlin slay his soul, was still grinning, "Same back at you." Draco Malfoy supposed, in some way, that Potter was right. They had both been pretty lucky not to have died pulling some of the stunts that they did. Granted, most of them were legal - or nearly legal, in Draco's case (what you didn't get caught at counted as legal, of course). There was a reason they tended to catch the snitch in half the time that the Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff seekers did. The others didn't take risky chances.

"You'll want a smaller brush for that," Potter said, seeming almost uncomfortable. "Here."

And just like that, Harry Potter had transfigured a quill into a small paintbrush... perfect for excavating the mouseribs out of the chink in the stonework that Draco had been trying to brush out with a broom.

"I'm not supposed to use magic to clean this," Draco Malfoy spouted, only seconds after he said it, realizing how stupid it was.

Harry kept grinning - what was with him and that grin? People made fun of Slytherins, but at least their 'resting face' said, "you mean nothing to me." Draco Malfoy couldn't for the life of him come up with what Harry was trying to express. And then cursed himself for a thrice blinded fool - he was a Gryffindor, and they didn't try to project anything. Nor did they think before they spoke, generally speaking (Granger was a known exception). "You didn't use magic. I did. And it's more work, not less, using a tool of that size."

Draco Malfoy looked at it, looked at Potter, tried it a bit (wedging out one rib), and then, a trifle grandly, said, "Very well, I accept."

Potter's lips finally settled into a more normal smirky smile, as he said, "Is that Malfoyese for Thank You?"

"Saying thank you implies an obligation, that I might owe you something. As you did this out of your own free will, I owe you nothing." Draco Malfoy said.

"A little gratitude wouldn't hurt, though..." Harry Potter said.

Draco Malfoy, "I'll be grateful when you accede to doing something because I request it."

"Oh, and what would you want me to do?" Harry Potter said, knitting his hands behind his head, as his elbows stuck out like elephant ears.

"I'll think of something." Draco Malfoy said, "Don't you have something better to do than harass a person that literally can't leave to get away from you?"

Harry Potter said, "Of course, but homework's boring. This is much more interesting."

Draco Malfoy promptly tuned Harry Potter out, or at least tried to. It seemed Harry Potter wanted a conversation and was going to try every technique until he got it. Luckily, by the time he got to whistling, Minerva McGonagall appeared, and, trying to keep a straight face, informed Harry Potter that he was interfering with Malfoy's detention. Detentions, apparently, weren't supposed to be having pointless conversations with someone who might be trying to kill you in a few months.** They were supposed to be grim dour and silent, which suited Draco Malfoy fine.

*more appropriately, this is about being half twisted towards the back, grabbing something out of an inconvenient pocket or a boot.

**not quite how McGonagall put it, naturally.

[a/n: and... Malfoy was supposed to cover something that he didn't. Oh well, I guess Harry's off to harass the next Slytherin he sees. Leave a review!]