Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 204

Harry thought, and thought some more. His mind was back at the Dursleys, and he'd never, ever, even Once stopped to think he was learning something from cleaning. He HATED cleaning. At least when you made food, you did something productive. People ate what you made, and were happy. But cleaning? It always got mussed up, and then you had to do it all over again And again, And again.

"Persistence, Dedication." Harry said, more talking to himself than anyone else.

"Difficult things to test in class, wouldn't you say, Potter?"

"No, sir, you test them every day in Potions." Harry responded, his voice rapping like a cane on cobblestones.

"If I do, then it is hardly useful in this context, is it not?" Snape responded.

Harry nodded, his eyes shut, again. He was thinking back to how much he hated cleaning, his hands fisted by his sides. How every time he stepped in the door at the Dursleys... he could see Every Single Thing Wrong. He had hated being able to see that, but... but it was a skill, and one he'd learned long and hard.

"When I was a child, I was stuck cleaning a lot." Harry Potter said.

"Doubtless because your relatives didn't trust you with harder chores." Snape said snidely. Harry opted for ignoring him - he'd either seen enough to know the truth, or he wasn't likely to listen, so why bother protesting?

"Maybe so." Harry said, grinning, "But they trusted me with cooking at the tender age of five, so I'd say it's unlikely, sir." Abruptly, Harry found that his tongue had decided to speak up anyway. From the twitch of the edge of Snape's mouth, he approved of the logical argument. Possibly he'd just been expecting Harry to have a conniption.*

"Cleaning was the one chore I hated. I liked gardening, even when I had to steal water from the hose like a dog. I liked cooking - it was useful. But cleaning, sir? Every time I cleaned, something was always unclean before I turned around." Harry said, his hands still shaking a bit. "It didn't matter whether I'd get scolded or not. I'd still know."

"Your Point, Potter?" Snape asked.

"Perception, sir." Harry said, and his eyes abruptly twinkled. "You're going to do a Scavenger Hunt!" Harry hadn't participated in any, of course, but he'd seen some of the other children playing at Piers' birthday party (Harry had simply been sitting, for once not the focus of a Harry Hunting game. He'd liked that, it was a good memory).

"What is a Scavenger Hunt, and how does it fit into my classes?" Snape asked softly, his eyes sharp on Harry's sparkling green ones.

"Defense. If you need to know if someone's come by - and you can't just look at footprints."

Harry's sour voice at the last must have made Snape interrupt snidely, "Oh, you realized that, did you?"

"Credit Parkinson," Harry said firmly.

"I shall, and I shall also credit you." Snape said.

"Me? Why?" Harry asked, tilting his head in confusion.

"It is a rare person who knows all the answers. Listening closely enough to gain information from others - particularly those who are not so patient as to tell you outright." Snape said, "Clever questions will take you far, but learning how to listen will take you farther."

After that, Harry didn't want to admit that Pansy had as much as told him outright, so he just kept silent.

*making an exception to my "harry doesn't know long words" because this seems exactly the type of word that Petunia would use. Harry's more sharp than intelligent.

[a/n: Yes, that's a happy memory for Harry. Sitting still, in the sun, ignored by everyone.

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Oh, I am looking for some suggestions on Male Bonding Moments. A different story of mine has Draco and Harry punching each other's lights out, and bonding over that. Because boys, and I'm told this really does help people get over being angry at each other. ... That's not what I want here, though.]