Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 200

Harry raced upstairs, his instincts propelling him forward almost faster than he could keep his balance. He had one thought in his head, which was that someone was going to kill each other. It was so allconsuming that he didn't pay attention to how many stairs he climbed, or anything like that. Just one foot in front of the other.

He ran into the room of requirement, not even checking that it had the right shaped door. "Blimey, mate, what happened to you?" Ron asked, looking bluntly concerned.

"Find another girl to shove in a closet?" Draco Malfoy oozed, his greasy words as oily as his hair.

"You could try showing up on time, you know." Hermione said, her hands on her hips.

Harry distantly registered that he wasn't actually panting, as he looked them over. They'd all been sitting in various stages of... meditation or stretching, it looked like. Well, with nobody dead, Harry supposed he couldn't complain.

"Sorry, I kind of got caught in something..." Harry muttered looking down at his feet.

"Is that a blush?" Draco Malfoy asked.

Harry Potter said, looking straight into Malfoy's eyes (the effect was limited, as they were half a room away from each other), "So what if it is? I blush at the drop of a hat." Harry gave an incredulous look to Malfoy, who responded by raising his hands.

"Alright, alright," Draco said, "Truce." And he ended that with a flick of his lips and a gentle snort, which told Harry that he had really just been playing around.

"What's the game, boys?" Harry said, and then belatedly added, "And girl." And then caught the glare from Hermione, and started backing away hurriedly.

"I can be part of the guys, Harry James Potter." Hermione said, advancing on him.

Malfoy, who'd somehow managed to dance close to Ron while this scene was playing out, was avidly watching the scene. Still, he said to Ron - his eyes still trained on the quarreling pair, "Maybe we'd better start dueling. Wouldn't want them to get a jump on us, would we?"

"Deal." Ron responded, in the same low voice, and they began to spar.

"I'm sorry, I"m sorry!" Harry said, holding his hands above his head, until Hermione dropped her wand, looking almost striken, and then Harry peeked out from behind his arms, smirking.

"Harry!" Hermione shrieked, "you tricked me!"

And the room exploded in fireworks.

By the time the room had cleared, everyone had hit the decks. "Who did that?" Harry asked, confused.

"Weasel-eah" Draco said, and then, at everyone's look of blank incomprehension, "as opposed to weaselbee?"

"Oi, that could use some work." Ron said.

"Duels okay with everyone?" Harry said, but didn't let anyone get a word in edgewise, before he started flinging spells around.

"Sorry, I guess not." He said impishly. Thing was, Harry was good on the offense, and so everyone else in the room was hiding, dodging, or waiting patiently for Harry to make a mistake

The best defense is a good offense isn't strictly true, Harry thinks, but it's what I've been trained in, so I'd better end this show. Harry maneuvered himself near one of the couches, before diving straight behind it, using the moment when he was completely shielded to call to mind a different spell.

[a/n: I should really read more combat that's tense. I'd like to do better about that here.

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