Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 329

It was easy to keep Harry's mind off things, if he had enough to do. Sadly, that Friday morning heading down to breakfast, he didn't have enough to do. Thinking about what he'd done hurt. It was almost instinctive, the need to avoid that. Also, nearly instinctive, was the frustration, the very very real desire to bash his own head into the wall until he just stopped thinking.

That wouldn't really fix anything, though it felt nice to think about.

Some way to just turn his thinking off.

Harry even had his Potions homework done, and that was a miracle forged by honest hard work, as Uncle Vernon would put it, if he could ever consent to say that about Harry Potter.

It hurt that Harry hadn't done this impulsively. He'd thought over the question, again and again - it popped up oddly, when he wasn't trying to think about anything at all.

No, this had been a Made Decision, not an impulse, not a brief momentary bout of idiocy.

Snape had talked about trust. He'd been beyond angry, beyond fury, into a cold sort of crystalline vibration, that might explode at any minute.

Harry closed his eyes, thinking back. His actions had hurt Snape. Snape, a man who liked to pretend he couldn't be hurt, by anything.

Had surprised Snape, too. That wasn't a comforting thought, like it would have been under other circumstances.

Harry heard giggles, found pretty young girls coming at him from above and below.

There. A landing just out of reach.

Harry jumped, and kept running, using his out-of-balance momentum to speed his progress. He ducked into a secret passage (beneath a tapestry), and bent over, catching his breath. If anyone asked, he wouldn't have admitted he'd been crying.

By the time Harry emerged, halfway through breakfast, he was smirking.

Silver linings, and all of that jazz.

He needed Ginny. She was going to like this.

By the time Harry slid into his seat, he was piling food faster than Ron generally did, which was saying something.

Snape's eyes glared heavily from the High Table.

Harry pretended not to see.

Minerva McGonagall eyed Snape with the same expression that a cat eyes a snake.

People kept wanting to talk with Harry, slip him secret messages. Hermione was getting increasingly frantic, as he'd been too busy eating to tell her anything (and wonder of wonders, Neville hadn't cracked). Harry just wanted to slide into the role of perfect (well, decent) student. It wasn't working, because everyone else refused to let it work. Even Ron wouldn't back off, not without Harry saying something. Which he wanted to avoid.

Potions class was worse than usual, and Snape was generally in a stew of a temper (with occasional thunderclaps), so that was saying something.

Snape actually rescued one of Neville's potions from causing a disaster.

This would have been swell, except that by saving Neville's, he'd thoroughly trashed Harry's, which had been fine before Snape had roughly jostled his elbow (with his lower back), and Harry had added three extra eyes of newt. The only bright side about Snape (as opposed to the Terribly Dumb Twins) sabotaging his potion was that Snape didn't believe in causing disasters large enough to require his effort in fixing them.

The potion was supposed to be actinic blue, and viscous. Harry's was black, ashy, and clumpy.

"That will be a zero for this assignment Mister Potter. If you persist in working without doing your homework, you will only get more of the same." Snape sneered, his eyes flashing as they bored into Harry's skull.

Well, then.

[a/n: What's Harry doing? What's Snape doing? Minerva? Leave a review, if you like.]