Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 185

Harry had had his fun, gloating about Malfoy's well-deserved, twice deserved, quadruple deserved punishment. And now, sitting at lunch, in a Great Hall that somehow sparkled just a bit stronger for all the unmagical cleaning that the Slytherins had put in, all he had left was anticipation. Well, that, and watching someone's first time.

Oh, not that first time. Harry Potter was fairly certain that most of the Slytherins had never done a non-magical day's work in their lives. Work wasn't something to be enjoyed, exactly, but when you got down to being done? It was a sense of satisfaction, of being productive, of having done your best and having the results to show for it.

Being Slytherins, they weren't exactly crowing from the rooftops, but there was a definite sense, sitting there, of solidarity. Of people who had done a hard, worthwhile thing - together. Harry Potter was actually a little proud with having a hand in that.

Sitting in the Great Hall, Harry (rather late) began to plan how he was going to figure out what 'friend' Snape was going to see at Hogwarts. And how he was going to ... do something spectacular. Harry wasn't quite sure what Snape had meant by punishing him early, but it sounded a lot like an invitation, extended with a mail-covered hand, no doubt, but an invitation nonetheless.

A lot would depend on who was coming, of course. Should it be Fudge, well, Harry'd have to find a way to learn what was happening without being seen. But Harry doubted it was going to be Fudge. The Minister was three shades too aboveboard for Harry to really think about doing anything (aside from pranks, of course) subtle and shadowy.

No, Harry was pretty sure whoever it was would be a shady character, possibly even unsavory. And that meant something having to do with the war, of course. And in this war, Snape held the distinct, and rather dubious, position of being on all sides, so really Harry hadn't a clue who'd be showing up. It could be Alastor Moody, someone from Knockturn Alley (possibly selling cut rate potions ingredients, and rare blackmarket items), a thief... or it could be a Death Eater. Certainly there were a few of Tom Riddle's own that wouldn't be allowed in school... but there were also enough who knew how to put on white gloves...

But first, Harry'd have to figure out who had arrived. He was halfway through planning an accidental encounter from the coatcloset, when he slapped his own head. He had a map! He should use it, and that would be his first step. Of course, he wouldn't be in Gryffindor Tower, but someplace safe on the first floor - nearer the action without putting his feet in it.

[a/n: Last chance, folks! Have you guessed what Snape's up to? (That's two questions: why is he providing dubious encouragement Harry, and who is coming to visit?) Leave a review even if you haven't.

2nd post today.]