Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 256

Ron and Hermione walked out the door, arguing loudly about homework. Harry was about to follow when Draco grabbed the sleeve of his robe. "You asked me to find an answer..."

Harry paused, slowly shut the door, and then turned around, "I did."

"I have the answer now." Draco Malfoy said, "-but I need to tell you something first."

Harry Potter looked at Draco, trying to figure out what Malfoy was trying to say. Slytherins were always tricky to read, and Malfoy was one of the quieter ones when he wanted to be. "Go on, then."

"Theo, Blaise, and I -" Draco paused, then continued, sounding more sure of himself, "We've been switching places. Just for the last week or so."

Harry thought back, mentally reviewing everything, "Not in Snape's Defense class, I hope."

"No, that'd be too obvious," Draco said, smirking, "But pretty much anywhere else."

"How? No, before that - Why?" Harry demanded, his hand finding its own way to his hip.

"Do you have any-" Draco Malfoy broke off, and said, "They come after me too, you know."

Oh. Harry nodded, saying, "Still haven't found a date?"

"I've been letting Blaise run interference, really. He likes flirting with any skirt he can find." Draco Malfoy said.

Harry frowned, saying slowly, "That doesn't sound like you, really... Hasn't anyone noticed?"

Draco Malfoy smirked, saying smugly, "If you didn't notice, do you really think some tatty third year is gonna?"

"How about Pansy?" Harry asked, "Surely she-"

"Doesn't want anything to do with me, now that father's wealth is fast becoming the Dark Lord's own." Draco Malfoy said, smirking. "We weren't well matched."

"Good, that saves me having to stammer out some sort of awkward condolences." Harry said with a laugh that Draco returned.

Suddenly Harry shot up straight, "Luna knew!"

Draco looked a bit confused, "... she did?" Blinking a bit, he asked, "How do you know that Luna knew-?"

Harry laughed, a full throated belly laugh, "She said you looked like a different person." Harry quieted down, "I can understand not wanting to deal with it all - I've been mostly hiding."

"No wonder you've been so dusty." Draco Malfoy said, smiling. "Poor Harry Potter, ragamuffin extraordinare!" Draco Malfoy bowed elaborately at Harry, bending down so his upper body was parallel to the floor.

"Doesn't seem to get you much, looking like Zambini..." Harry said, pondering.

Draco interrupted, "Try to keep up, Potter. I look like Nott, Zambini looks like me."

Harry snorted, "Nobody wants to date Nott?"

"Pretty much," Draco Malfoy said firmly, "He's pretty awkward, with words and everything else."

"I know the feeling," Harry said, "How does he do at pretending to be Zambini?"

Draco Malfoy said smugly, "Well, Blaise looks mysterious half the time - which the girls gush over - so all Nott has to do is not say anything."

"Hell, that's good!" Harry said, "Wish I'd thought of it."

"Of course, what did you expect? We are Slytherin," Draco Malfoy said smugly.

"How in the world are you pulling this off?" Harry asked, his eyebrows creased with the beginnings of a frown.

"Polyjuice, what else?" Draco Malfoy said, "A lot more reasonable than glamours, at any rate."

"How the hell did you get the ingredients?" Harry Potter said, "Two weeks, three people, that's a LOT!"

Draco Malfoy raised an eyebrow, "Surprised you'd realize that, honestly."

"Fourth year, Moody wasn't exactly Moody." Harry said bluntly, "The real Moody told me afterwards. That deception had cost hundreds of galleons."

"Luckily this wasn't that expensive," Draco Malfoy said, "We paid for it in parchment, actually."

"What?" Harry asked, knowing - instinctively, that Draco was just hiding the truth.

"A grant proposal, for Professor Snape. Plus a magically bonded contract saying we wouldn't use it to cheat on anything academic, or do anything romantically permanent." Draco Malfoy looked exceptionally smug, which was saying something.

"Snape's been making you polyjuice?" Harry's jaw dropped open.

"It's good to be a snake," Draco Malfoy smirked.

[a/n: Yes, I know, Draco's a bit of a prat.

I've been setting this scene up for a while... the biggest clue was in Snape's viewpoint, when everyone was crowding around Nott. Snape, of course, refers to the kids by their minds and not their bodies in his head.

Up Next: Narcissa's Note, Draco's Whining, and How To Settle The Bet!

Leave a review!

... we'll get back to Snape when Harry's got more time. Besides, conversations with Snape are going to be... what's the word... tense for a while.]