Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 285

Harry appeared on screen, and, unlike most of the others, his style focused more on evasion. Harry spent minutes, diving, twisting, springing upright to cast a hex, somersaulting. It would have been a masterclass on evasion, Harry thought wryly. Eventually, Harry ended it, by popping up behind a suspiciously tombstone looking rock, and using Expelliarmus and then a Hold Person charm that wrapped the Malfoy in ropes.

"That took you how long, Potter?" Malfoy drawled, the scorn light on his tongue. The other Slytherins laughed - particularly Pansy, who had a surprisingly grating bark-like laugh. It sounded like the whole room was echoing with laughter.

Harry generally considered himself an even-tempered person. He didn't get upset when people made fun of his mistakes. But these - these weren't his. They were Snape, deliberately making fun of him. Harry backed towards a wall, less for the security than to evade people's scornful looks. Harry wasn't trying for it, but he caught a glimpse of Snape's bright eyes, and that smug smirk he wore on his face. He knew I'd be upset, the bastard!

Seamus showed up on screen next, and now it was Dean's turn to frown, choosing, ultimately not to ask why Seamus was wielding fire with his usual reckless abandon - and mixing it with gouts of water, making steam. Seamus took down the Dean-alike with a clout to the head.

Harry hadn't really been looking at any of that, however. He'd been breathing hard, and looking down at his feet. Hermione had paused her writing, looking at him in concern, when Ron gave a slow shake of his head, warning her off. Harry, of course, hadn't noticed this either.

He'd been busy picturing his anger as a pulsing heart, with him inside it, choked off from everything. Harry concentrated on his breathing, as other students appeared on the screen. He was not going to lose control. He just wasn't. Of course, the ribbon of fear that Voldemort might hear threatened to wrap around his neck and strangle him. In. Out. He breathed, concentrating more on the exact placement of his lungs, his gut, his spine. Letting everything fall away.

Around him, the silence grew even as he struggled with his temper. His curiosity started to get the better of his anger. He wanted to see who had figured it out. He wanted ot know who had decided to be silent.

With one long, slow breath he opened his eyes. Su Li was on screen, performing some sort of spell that seemed half made out of interpretive dance. She was lithe and graceful, and her spell, once cast, blew the target dummy to flinders and shrapnel.

Oddly enough, it was Padma who spoke up. "Su Li doesn't know that spell! That spell's private, and isn't- Who is casting that?!" She sputtered.

"A very good question," Snape said, stalking up from behind Padma, as if he'd known who would speak up from the beginning. "Theories?"

"You've already shown that this room is capable of producing copies of people," Draco Malfoy said, "Who's to say any of this is real?"

"Magic must have a source, and spells can't be cast by inanimate objects." Hermione Granger countered.

Harry blinked, starting to get concerned. He had thought they were just practice dummies, albeit very, very good ones. Had someone actually been ... dissolved? Exploded? Squished into a bouncy ball?

Harry felt his hair start to prickle...

[a/n: Anyone figured this one out yet? Because I kinda just made it up. Still, it'll make sense, I promise. How much of the class do you think had figured it out? Leave a review!

And yes, poor Harry, hasn't figured out why Snape made him seem so awful. Because there's always a reason. It's Snape after all.]