Nobody ever asked my birthday


It was breakfast before Harry'd pulled himself out of his mental fog (yes, it had persisted through running around Hogwarts. Multiple times.). Pumpkin Juice was great, and all, but sometimes you really really needed coffee. In Harry's case, since the Hogwarts House Elves refused to make the Devil's Brew, he had to settle for a cup of Proper British Tea (any attempts to persuade the elves that he just wanted the caffeine, and could they double steep it for flavor? Had fallen on deaf ears).

Harry was on his fourth cup now, and starting to remember that today was Wednesday. In quick succession, his schedule started to flash before his eyes - and ground to a halt on the first item.

Snape's Defense Class.

Harry's mind slid to a screeching halt, as he did something he never ever did at breakfast. He pulled out papers. Specifically, Snape's syllabus. Harry skimmed down the list, noting that they were - as expected - two weeks ahead. Not that the book work was actually on the syllabus, either.

Snape was chewing up the breathing room he'd gotten from not having to teach them the Patronus charm.

He'd known this was coming - and more on top of this, Harry thought. This wasn't some unplanned thing that just left him gaunt and wasted.

Harry realized that he'd known this, somehow - call it gut level intuition. But he'd known.

That ruddy bastard, Harry thought, a smile quirking the edges of his lips. Harry sat back, thinking, How did anyone think I could manage to fight a Slytherin like Voldemort? With Gryffindor - stupidity? Run right up and spit in his face?

Suddenly, Harry realized that he actually did have the capability of doing that, now. And of having at least a hairsbreath chance of surviving it. He knew how to dodge after all, and that seemed to be something that most wizards hadn't the foggiest clue about. Malfoy was starting to learn (and Greg seemed to just "take" hits and shrug them off. Harry thought he'd learned pain tolerance, but it turned out he'd really only learned the ability to move while being in horrendous agony. Greg seemed to have gotten that, and more. Was that his da teaching him? Harry didn't know, but thought it likely. Few people would care, otherwise, and Draco Malfoy didn't seem like he had the heart to make his minion scream merely to help him).

Harry abruptly realized that no one else was still at the table, as he stuffed the papers frantically into his bag.

Then it was up and running (okay, jogging. no running in Hogwarts Hallways!), towards Snape's classroom - nevermind that Snape hadn't stood from breakfast yet, he'd have a quicker way to be sure, and Harry REALLY didn't need any black marks on his record today.

[a/n: Harry is distractable. But he does eventually get back to things. This whole "buying breathing room" bit was added last minute. I really should have seen it, as the whole "mysterious timely absences" has been around... for quite a bit longer than Harry's noticed. Snape doesn't have to do it once a month, you realize?

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