Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 277

Harry didn't even wait until Snape called the next person. "And?" he said, rushing over to Hermione.

"And nothing," Hermione Granger said primly. Ron was chuckling somewhere being Harry.

Goyle had seemingly materialized out of nowhere, and was heading into the other room.

Harry felt the burn of curiosity, wanting to peek over Goyle's shoulder (a hopeless task, Harry was over a head shorter than Goyle).

Goyle came out sporting enough small wounds that three of the Slytherins were casting on him just as soon as he came out. Of course, he also sported a goofy grin. "Why do you always do this?" Malfoy hissed, low enough that had Harry not been close, he wouldn't have heard at all. Goyle just shrugged.

Su Li stepped in next, and came out speaking in tongues. Snape, merciful Snape, said merely, "It will wear off before the end of class." And then Nott stepped through the door.

That left Harry and Malfoy, exchanging awkward looks.

"Duel for it?" Malfoy asked, smirking a crooked grin.

"In class? And without supervision?" Harry said, noting that the Slytherins were already forming a ring around them.

"Scared?" Malfoy boldly sneered.

"As if!" Harry said, smirking. "You know, I've learned a few things about duels since the last time you challenged me to one." Draco Malfoy smirked, and Harry could tell he was remembering that petty victory with pride. "For one thing, I've learned that the challenged gets to set the challenge."

Harry Potter closed his eyes, and asked the Room very, very nicely. He required two large circles of wood.

"Here you go," Harry said, passing Malfoy one of the beech circles.

"What?" Malfoy asked quietly, hating to be put on the spot.

"Oh. Forgot you don't know how." Harry said, "Hermione, will you demonstrate?"

Hermione gave one of her startlingly fiery grins, "Gladly," she said, seizing the circle out of his hand. With a careful flickup of the wrist, she swung the circle over her head, and around her waist.

And then she gave the hoop a whirl, and started to shake her hips. In a way, it looked like she was defying gravity, holding a hoop up with just the sway of her hips. Harry's careful eye glanced at Malfoy, who seemed a bit more interested in her hips than the hoop.

"Are we clear?" Hermione said brightly, grabbing the hoop and handing it off to Harry.

"Ten paces?" Malfoy asked, smirking.

"This isn't that kind of challenge." Harry said sternly. "Whoever's hoop hits the floor first is the loser. And has to go in first."

"Who'll start the count?" Malfoy asked, and before a skirmish could break out-

Su Li responded, "I shall." To the startled looks of practically everyone around her, "I wouldn't trust the rest of you to remember all the numbers."

People laughed, and she began to count.

Harry closed his eyes, for just a moment, and at the "Go!" they flew open. He was watching the hoop, timing his rhythm. In fact, he was watching himself so closely, that he didn't notice the door open.

Unfortunately for Malfoy, he had noticed the door opening, and at the dark scowl on Snape's face, had entirely forgotten to dance.

Snape sneered at both of them, and then stated simply, "Goofing around will not be tolerated in my class. Who's next."

"That would be me, sir," Draco Malfoy said, doing his best smarmy courtesy - which, as Malfoy wasn't a terribly respectful person, always seemed entirely faked to Harry.

[a/n: Does anyone want a Draco perspective here? Leave a review either way!

Harry is not particularly good with hula hoops, but at least he's seen them before in use.]