Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 187

For most people at Hogwarts, Harry was fairly sure, Sundays were a time for relaxation and ease. At least they were most years. This year, the upperclassmen were training, and the underclassmen seemed to be picking up the tension too.

Harry, however, wasn't most people. He'd never really felt... relaxed. Well, not often, at any rate. There was always some part of him, he supposed, that kept an ear open for Dudley. Or Uncle Vernon. Or even Aunt Petunia.

Harry was actually a bit frustrated, as he'd asked Hermione to help him with his Potions, and she'd passed him her finished draft. The problem was, it was actually the expected length. Normally, Harry could pick and choose points out of Hermione's paper (asking her to explain if he really didn't understand), and stitch together something that looked uniquely from him. But Hermione'd finished her paper on Friday (while he was in detention), and didn't have her drafts.

So, Harry was reading the books himself. Yes, books. Snape apparently decided that assigning homework meant extracurricular reading. Or at least he did if you wanted a decent grade. It wasn't exactly that Harry did or didn't want a decent grade, though - he knew he hadn't a reasonable chance of getting it. Taught by Severus Snape, Potions was a grueling class filled with sweat and cauldrons and fire. Some people seemed made for it - was Draco Malfoy really as cold as he looked or did he just use a cooling charm on his clothes?

Focus.

It took hours for Harry to come up with a half-decent paper. He'd have considered doing more, but his Transfiguration was calling, and after that he had Charms. Defense hadn't any homework (due, no doubt, to the enormous pile Hermione was working on for their 'study group') - Harry figured that just meant Snape was going to assume that they'd done the homework he hadn't officially assigned. Was he trying to drive those Ravenclaws mad?

It was almost time for dinner, and Harry was taking a walk, enjoying the warm summerish breeze at the end of September. It truly was a balmy day. As his feet took him where they willed, he carefully reviewed Snape and Malfoy's conversation from the night before. It had seemed so strange, at the time, to hear two Death Eaters talking... they had sounded so normal. Not like they were plotting to murder Hermione, or someone else...

[a/n: Lucius is not good in this story. Lucius is a conniving snake, and pretty much everyone knows it.

Just sayin'.

Snape, of course, is not going to do any of what Harry expects. Why? Too predictable. Besides, he's already done it.

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