Snape strode to the front of the class, paying zilch attention to such pesky annoyances as Potter and his ilk. He then lept gracefully and softly onto the stage, before turning around to regard the class. "Form groups," he said clearly.
By this point in the year, that was a red flag - so Harry didn't move from where he was standing. He was more curious about what other people would do than about what he'd do himself.
Everyone seemed uneasy. Hermione and Ron wound up together, but Harry wasn't sure if that was because they had started out close together. (Ginny had disappeared to her next class, of course). Harry smirked as Ernie and Chang came over to him. It seemed like most people had decided to stop having preferences in class, because you never knew what the hell was going to come next.
Harry kind of liked that attitude. Better was the fact that it meant the houses were scattered around the room. When Nott joined Harry's group, he was still reading a book - but it was clear that he meant to be with them.
"The signal is on three," Snape said, his voice forboding and mild at the same time. Harry could see a number of hands rising - Hermione's among them.
"One" The first number had people settling - satchels being laid near the side of the room, people shifting into more combat ready stances.
"Two" The second number had Gryffindors and some Slytherins drawing wands, which the other students hurriedly mimicked.
"Three" Wordlessly, wandlessly, shadow consumed the room. Harry could hear curses, and hexes, and just spells aplenty. Seemingly over it all, there was the sound of Thump, Thump, Thump. Hermione was trying to cast her bluebell flames, but Harry knew a better trick, if he could only get it off.
He pasted himself to the floor, debated for half-a-second about heading towards the nearest pile of satchels, and settled for tucking extremities under his body. In his mind's-eye, Harry pictured a shade, wrapped around a glowing ball bright as the sun. He could feel his magic making it real. He could feel people around him, slinging spells above his head.
Harry closed his eyes, shielding them with his arm, and then he let the light soar. He heard a collective scream, and then everything went black.
Harry woke up where he had ... blacked out? On the floor. Spells had stopped, for the most part, and the ones Harry heard were minor healing spells. Harry cautiously pulled his arm away from his face - light. He cautiously opened his eyes.
"The entire class was felled, some by their own stupidity, and some by the stupidity of others," Snape said, his eyes hitting Potter for that second, "And some were struck down by me."
"Your assignment, you worthless bits of mouldy slime, is to write what you'd do better next time." Snape said, his mouth smirking, "And you may pray that I do not ask you to demonstrate it." Snape's eyes found Malfoy's, and then Granger's.
It was clear the class was done, and Harry rose to leave, a sinking nearly nauseous feeling in his chest. Why did it hurt so much that Snape wasn't looking at him?
"But Sir! I'm still blind!" Zach Smith said.
Tracey Davis said, "Yes, I don't think I can find my next class!"
Snape's silky voice informed them, "I can hardly be expected to deal with such unexpected contingencies. You might try the person who caused the blindness." he said the last with a bit of asperity, before leaving the classroom at a clip.
"Who's that?" Justin asked.
"Me." Harry said, "Who's got Charms next? It's closest..."
[a/n: Responses to reviews below. I love reviews, and they make me write more!
Lizzie (and one of the Guests): I don't hate Harry in this story. I occasionally hate having to dumb down my writing because he's not a reader. That's all.
And Snape's reaction last chapter to Harry nearly ploughing into him, because Potter's not looking where he's going? That's suppressed mirth. Harry's not getting that, both because Snape's making an effort to leash his anger, and because Harry feels really guilty/bad and isn't thinking about fun things like how silly it would be to run into your teacher on your way out of the classroom you're supposed to be attending his own class within.
As to Harry planning an "attack" on Snape? I have established, and Harry knows, that Snape pulled enough pranks that he was proud of, to have a scrapbook about them. That he's still kept. Snape is not going to go into shell-shock because of a stupid prank. And this prank is far from stupid.
Snape doesn't feel that Harry's often disrespectful to him, at least through the story I've written (before is a different story!). He doesn't tolerate students not using Professor. Of course he's going to call Harry out on being a disrespectful brat if he is acting like one. Bear in mind, although Harry does often charge into Snape's office screaming, Harry still listens, and is still referring to Snape as sir.
And Harry's been really distressed about this whole Snape situation, not just in a Snape's Gonna Kill Me sort of way, but also in a What Have I done?
The soviets weren't impressed with richie rich people on TV. Russia had plenty of those in the Party. They were impressed by Joe American getting to pick out which fruit to buy in the grocery store. No shortages.]