Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 2

Harry Potter was not going to be depressed. Really, he wasn't. It was awful hard though, stuck here in Grimmauld Place - crawling with Order Members, and not a one of them with a clue about what's to be done.

Remus was falling apart, half from grief, half from the thought that his other best friend (James) had died for a wild goose chase. Every time he looked at Harry, Potter realized exactly how differently Remus looked at him. Still with love, and overtones of fondness, but no longer that barely concealed pride. Lupin had said Harry was good at DADA, Harry Potter thought crossly. Had Remus lied?

McGonagall was better at poker faces, but, every once in a while, he'd find her up near the gables, a thin window open, her face sticking out into the rain. He never pried, but he was sure that she'd been crying. The windows were never opened when it wasn't raining. Prof McGonagall helped to organize things, and was sent out on missions to "organize" things (Harry privately thought that if she was sorting papers, she might as well stay home... and then he wondered what other things she might be organizing).

Moody seemed like a coiled spring, muttering under his breath when no one was listening, "Never trust a prophecy" - and he showed a disturbing tendency to hex Tonks when she fell over something, which was a lot more common these days.

The Ravenclaw contingent (including Hermione) had retreated into the library (some were at Hogwarts, Harry realized, but books were their safe haven, and they had all retired from the field). At least they weren't running from hm this time.

The Hufflepuffs just looked grim, their faces creased - as if they were set to die, and just hadn't realized it yet. Occasionally one would fall to pieces, and Harry would find some chocolate in a mug the next morning, half drunk and half wept in.

With so many frayed emotions, so many broken hopes, it was no small wonder that Grimmauld Place had begun to seem worse than his cousin's. His aunt and uncle were predictable, after all, and their hate was so old that it felt well-worn and comfortable. Not these broken glass shards, squeaking against each other, of people he knew and admired.

Through it all, there was one person who never quavered and never smiled. Severus Snape. Interested, almost despite himself, Harry Potter studied the man. Snape may very well have liked the color black, but his world seemed steeped in gray. Potter saw how Snape quelled rooms with a few soft-spoken words, the mere hint of his silken drawl quelling fights - most often by setting both parties directly at Snape's throat. Harry Potter saw Snape return from one of his frequent trips "out", looking as sallow as a lich, and about as hale and hearty - which was to say, not at all. In fact, as Harry kept watching, he confirmed that Snape always returned looking like that. Then again, Harry thought, meetings with Voldemort couldn't be fun. Not even for Severus Snape.

A month after school had ended, June dawned with scalding rays of sunlight, pouring into rooms that barely understood the concept of daylight. An Order Meeting! You couldn't keep the Weasleys out of the meetings, Harry Potter's mind insisted - filled with the cheerful naivety that children often have. And, as is often the case, Fred and George had a wonderful invention - extendible ears. Up in a small bedroom, Harry Potter listened to the cheerful plans. "And then we'll know just what's going on!" And the entire room was filled with laughing Weasley children, and for the first time in a long time, Harry smiled.

Dumbledore and the rest of the school staff were already in the Grand Hall, waiting for the full meeting of the Order of the Phoenix. Fred and George had sent one of their magically enhanced wind up spiders (which always made Ron scream, so the other twin held Ron's lips shut) to run out the pink-earlobe-colored line on the extensible ears.

People seemed to file in from multiple directions, Fred explained, as he listened, saying "they're just exchanging greetings." All the children were curled up in the library near the front door, the line of the ear stretching from there to the Grand Hall.

The front door opened, and Severus Snape strode in, his haggard demeanor evident with every supremely confident step. Everyone in the room held their breath, not wanting to be discovered - and foolishly forgetting the extensible ear. As Snape strode by, unpausing, George whispered in a voice that even Fred could barely hear, "Maybe he didn't see it?"

Snape walked to the door of the Great Hall, stooped over - the children down the hall were no longer breathing - and picked up the Extensible Ear. Then, as if he hadn't just done the most unSnapish thing possible - barring him smiling, of course, he squared his shoulders, opened the door to the Grand Hall, and strode in.

Fred suddenly whispered, slightly louder than before. "I'm getting better reception now..." His eyes were big as saucers.

[a/n: Well, a few chapters just fell on me, so you're going to get to read and enjoy them! Originally, there were going to be two chapters here, and then the Last Battle.

Please, write a review!

Write a second one if you figure out who the Boy Wonder in the Prophecy is.]