Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 274

Almost without warning - and that was almost, the class had split into four groups. Harry's group had Hermione and Ron, of course, and - oddly enough - Malfoy, Nott and Zambini. Which was all to the good, as Harry really didn't want to try and figure out who was whom (surely they wouldn't be stupid enough to trade in Snape's class?).

Snape nodded crisply, before Harry'd really had time to notice more than most of the Hufflepuffs were together in one of the other groups, "Malfoy's group, to me." The group looked at each other, even as they started following Snape out of the classroom. Idly, Harry thumbed his wand up his sleeve. Then he realized that doing so had encouraged Nott to do the same thing. Harry sent a frustrated glare at the boy, who gave an exasperated smirk back, as if to say What did you expect me to do?

Up they went. Across the school and back again. Harry knew before they were there, that they were headed towards the 7th floor. The room of requirement.

Lovely. That meant Snape had something interesting planned.

The door opened into a green room, and Snape spat, "Line up. You'll be doing this one by one, with special instructions from me before you begin." Now everyone had their wands in their hands (as they were clearly in some sort of classroom.)

"Who's first?" Snape asked, his cruel lips quirking up.

"Me," Ron Weasley said, standing out of the crowd. Snape nodded, and said, "Follow me." Ron and Snape disappeared through a door.

The room was quiet. Quieter than quiet, as everyone tried to think what Snape was doing. Why the four groups? Well, that's what Harry figured everyone was thinking about. Hermione might just be preparing. And Zambini might be trying to find a way to flirt with Su Li, the quiet girl in their midst. Harry was mostly focused on not thinking about anything at all. It was too crowded in here to decompress.

Besides, Harry felt confident that he could take on whatever Snape threw at him.

Su tried to ask something of Nott, who shushed her, saying, "He's listening. Assume he's listening." After that, even Hermione didn't want to ask anything.

/^^^^^^/

Ron stumbled out with his robes half torn - a good swathe of his flank was showing, as was a bloody wound on his shoulder that seeped.

"Next," Snape said, ignoring Hermione's jut of the jaw.

"Hospital wing, Professor Snape?" Hermione spat, quicker than anyone could think to volunteer.

"Not that badly injured, Granger. Take care of your own." Snape executed a short bow, as if to say she was capable of it. "Or let him bleed. I do not care." The room paused a beat to let that sink in.

Then Zambini spoke up. "I'll go calm it down," Zambini said with a fluid smile, white teeth glistening between his dark red lips.

[a/n: Hmm... can we think why Harry's not so eager to be first? I wonder...

There's a reason for the groupings. The title is a truncation of "I can do whatever I want" - which is apt, as it is Snape's class, and his teaching methods tend towards the creative and sadistic.

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