Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 290

After five and some years at Hogwarts, Harry still wasn't used to getting gifts. He absently tugged at the lily as he headed down for lunch. He wished that classes were less long than they were, because by the end of most classes, Harry was already getting bored with concentrating on anything. That had been the case for every single class last year, and this year, only Defense was generally ... interesting. Harry'd say fun, but he was concerned that if he even thought it, Snape'd change the curriculum just for spite.

Hermione and Ron made room between them for him, Ron with a "Hey, mate!" and Hermione with, well, a look. Harry just looked solidly at her, and nodded back. All clear.

Neville, of course, looked up and paused at the lily, "Harry, what's that?"

Harry shrugged, not wanting to make a big deal out of it, "Just something my mother used to wear." Oddity resolved, the Gryffindors went back to eating.


Up at the High Table, Minerva McGonagall had a pinched look on her face, as she turned to Severus Snape, whom she'd sat beside. Snape ought to have known that it was trouble, because she never sat beside him willingly. If he wanted to speak to her, he had to move to where she was, taking the initiative but losing the ability to reject the conversation.

Minerva put together a cucumber and cream sandwich, before looking up at him. He knew she was doing it just to bother him. "What is it, Minnie?" Snape snapped.

Minerva looked up, saying mildly, "That's the first time in years you've called me that."

"This is the first time in years you've willingly sat beside me. Do I smell?" Snape said.

"Always. Generally of cloudberry and oak, occasionally of bubotuber pus when you can't find a student to haul into detention," Minerva said.

Snape smirked because she was dead on target. "You know me well."

Minerva smirked at that, "Yes, but I do have to inquire as to what in blazes you did in class today."

"Only the usual," Snape said with a smirk, "Tried to bash two childrens' heads into their desks for the temerity of not paying attention to volatile cauldrons." Snape said wryly, the sarcasm dripping off his tongue, "They were in love."

Minerva chuckled, "Oh, to be children again."

"No, nay, never." Snape said, in that particular cadence.

"Will I play the wild rover..." Minerva finished, smiling happily. Referencing Scottish heritage was always a way to soften the old battleax up. Minerva took a gulp of her pumpkin juice (Snape thought it was probably too early for her to be spiking it with spirits, more's the pity). "So you don't know of any reason why Harry Potter wasn't in my class today?"

"No," Snape said dourly, "But I suspect I will know, soon enough."

"Ah, Severus," Minerva said crisply, "Are we perhaps regretting dropping the Irritable and Ascerbic Potions Master guise?"

"Never," Snape said, taking a good swallow of his port. It was, perhaps, a bit early for indulging.

[a/n: You know if you were Minerva you'd be asking. I find it fun to leave what Minerva is really like to the reader. Is Snape pessimistic? Accurate? Seeing a Gryffindor through a Slytherin lens?

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