Nobody ever asked my birthday

I'll eat my hat

Harry Potter tried to pay attention throughout the rest of the day's classes. Really, he did.

He had moderate success, which was to say, Hermione's notes would always be better than his, but at least this day he knew what had been covered, and could even half-cast the required Charm.

Dinner tasted completely tasteless - Ron and Ginny's roughhousing more than made up for it, and had Harry in stitches as they nearly rolled off the bench onto their arses. Harry chanced a glance at the high table during this fracas - He's not looking. which was altogether strange. Snape had a particular fondness for taking points from rowdy Gryffindors, so this seemed straight up his alley. But nothing.

Had the poor rotter just been looking to take points from Harry Potter, then? Or Harry Potter's friends?

And what in the world did it say thyat now he didn't want to do that?

Harry still wasn't sure about that, but he had a somewhat vague realization that whatever the reason for the removal of points, it hadn't been about spite. Because Snape was plenty spiteful on a routine basis.

And it had been targeted. Unless Snape was just laying aside his standard routine... in favor of Ignoring Harry?

That seemed even more unlikely.

Harry had the strange idea that he was tying himself into logical pretzels. However, he didn't get the feeling that any of it was off. Perhaps Slytherins just thought that was normal? Twisting themselves into logical pretzels just for the fun of it?

Harry leapt off the Gryffindor table, seconds before Ginny had Ron pinned on the bench, where Harry had sat.

"Help me, mate." Ron wheezed, his neck squeezed between Ginny's wrists.

"You made your bed," Harry said, turning away, "Might as well lie in it."

Harry was mildly perplexed to see Millicent Bulstrode's mouth quirk up at him, as he strode from the hall. When had it become okay to listen in? Moreover, when had it become okay to care, to enjoy each other? Harry was pretty damn sure that mouth, at the beginning of the year, would have just made a crack about Weasley getting whipped by his wee little sista.

Had he actually changed things that much? Harry shook his head, Nah, too cocky. Had Snape, and Harry, and yes, even Draco Malfoy, changed the school? Oh, it wasn't like everyone was suddenly snapdragons, but things were better. Harry felt a sudden stab of guilt, and a yearning to be doing something right.

[a/n: another pointless meandering chapter, which is what Pulp Fiction calls Character Development.

Reviews, as always, get me to write more. Second chapter of the day.]