Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 238

Severus Snape, face impassive as usual, strode out into the 7th floor hallway. He was surprised, though he obviously didn't show it, to see Draco Malfoy lounging nearby.

"Were you looking for Gryffindors to harrass, Draco?" Snape's question might have sounded polite, if it had come out of anyone else's mouth. Out of Snape's, it was the arch of a cobra's neck, in the moment before he struck. Snape paired that with his own quick and unhurried movement. It was a subtle form of intimidation, and Snape was an expert.

Draco Malfoy swallowed, seeming a bit surprised to see Snape. He stood as Snape drew near, and said, "Obviously. Dumbledore gives his Golden Children too much free reign."

Snape smirked, and said firmly, "Standing outside a Staff Meeting is a waste of time. You'd have a better chance of finding them on the Quiddich Pitch." Snape's eyes had flicked, for just a moment, to the windows - which were blessedly clear of the red and gold Quiddich colors.

Draco Malfoy looked at Snape a moment, and then sighed. "Figures I'd be hunting snipes up here..." He turned to leave, probably to head down to the Quiddich pitch.

"Draco, walk with me," Snape said, taking a bit of fresh delight in Draco Malfoy's suspicious look at him, "We have matters to discuss."

Down they went, eight floors down, discussing harmless matters like what colors Narcissa Malfoy was likely to choose to decorate her next Yule Ball. Both Malfoy and Snape knew that they didn't care, but the appearance of gentile discussion was important. Otherwise, it would look as if Draco was in trouble, and - so far as he was to know - he wasn't.

Snape finally got Malfoy behind closed doors, and smirked, "Excellent job stalking, but the follow through needs work."

Draco Malfoy smirked back, as he hadn't above, and said, "Thank you, sir. It's a pleasure to serve." His eyes flicked down for a second to the double-headed eagle badge he was wearing.

"More importantly, how is your assignment going?" Snape said, leaning slightly forward in his eagerness to hear.

"Both better and worse than you'd expect," Draco Malfoy drawled. "I've got the Ravenclaws - the ones patrolling - eating out of my hand."

"That's expected," Snape said, his eyes glittering the approval that the rest of his face doesn't say.

"It's much tougher going with the rest of the school, though. They don't seem to want to make any decision before they're forced." Draco Malfoy said.

"That is most unfortunate." Snape said, lacing his fingers together, "Unfortunate for them, that is."

"How so?" Draco Malfoy asked, feeling smaller than he usually did talking with his godfather.

"If they must be forced, the Dark Lord will make them choose." Snape said, letting out a low, dark chuckle of wry amusement.

Draco Malfoy plastered a smirk on his face, the facial muscles moving more out of habit than honesty. That could be really, really bad. Draco Malfoy thought, trying - and failing - to weave together any threads he had to form a better plan. If only he could make them choose without...

[a/n: Welcome to Slytherin Roulette, where nobody's who they think they are, let alone who other people think they are! Pretenses abound, and one can be walked into traps of ones own making.

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