Nobody ever asked my birthday

Devil's in the Details

Harry Potter squared his shoulders, and knocked on Minerva McGonagall's Office Door. This was the first time he'd come without being summoned since first year. And that... had gone poorly. In retrospect, trying to suggest that the Villain was Severus Snape was something that the Head of Gryffindor House couldn't have taken seriously. In fact, they were lucky she hadn't laughed at them outright. Too unprofessional, that.

"Come in," Minerva McGonagall's voice barked, welcoming as a drill sergeant - her voice all but telling you to kneel.

Harry entered, one of his hands curled around the wrist of the other behind his back. He shut the door behind himself, and approached the sitting woman.

Shrewdly, she eyed him, "Those defense lessons must be doing you some good, at least. You're looking like a proper soldier at least." Harry nodded crisply, so she continued, "Well, go ahead and have a seat and tell me what's the problem."

Harry tried to look innocent as he looked up into Professor McGonagall's eyes, "What problem?"

Professor McGonagall's voice seethed with swells of laughter. "What, did you really come for tea and biskies?"

Harry shook his head, mutely. "Can... exactly how private is this place, anyway?"

Professor McGonagall's eyes crinkled at the corners. "That depends on the people you need to keep the knowledge from, of course. You'll find no Slytherins have bugged this place since I started working here, many a year ago." Professor McGonagall actually smirked, "I believe the Weasley twins have at least three bugs in here, and it's possible the old Marauder one is still functioning."

Harry nodded slowly, considering her words. "Good enough." It wasn't Snape's growl-or purr, it was a crisp sound that was more parade drill than anything else.

"Why didn't you ever mention that my mum had a Slytherin friend?" Harry asked, turning those green eyes on Professor McGonagall, as if by sheer force of will he could guilt her into answering.

Professor McGonagall stood, looking Harry over as if she was scrutinizing an ant. This took minutes, but Harry'd learned not to fidget. At length, she moved toward the side of her office, where she depressed a brick, and opened the hidden door, that had seemed just bricks in the wall. "I have decided to allow you to enter my private quarters, as the questions you are asking are of a personal, not professional, nature."

Minerva McGonagall entered, and Harry was right on her heels, steeping away from the path of the door as she closed it. His eyes caught the sumptuous, but not overdecorated nature of her quarters, done in browns and golds, with hints of ocean blue accenting. A far cry from her plaid office.

"Yer're a right little cheap shite, you know that?" Minerva hissed at Harry Potter.

Harry blinked, once, startled first by the heavy Scottish brogue, and second by what she'd said. He hadn't realized McGonagall knew how to swear, really.

"What do you mean?" Harry asked, cautiously advancing the words.

Minerva's pointy finger started poking Harry's chest. It hurt, slightly. "You canna get over yerself to think about anyone else."

Harry just tilted his head in question, waiting for her to continue.

"Ever think I might have a damned good reason fer not tellin' ya?" Professor McGonagal said.

"Honestly? I couldn't conceive of any reason you wouldn't... that was why I asked." Harry blinked in puzzlement at her.

"Laddie, yer not in my office now." Minerva said, in a tone that Harry more associated with someone who's drunk than sober. "These here are my rooms. Out there, you're my charge, and I have some sort of rubbish Professional Obligation to you."

"And in here?"

"In here, you're my guest, and on my sufference. Tread lightly, or you won't be the first I kick out."

Harry nodded soberly.

"Now, ta answer ya question?" Minerva said, eyes sparking, "He's my friend, whether he likes it or not. Merlin knows he could stand someone who wont' be a fairweather friend. And that's private business it is," Minerva leaned almost on top of Harry, her finger starting to poke him in the sternum again. "Bit of a sore subject, innit? Might be the sort of thing that you oughtn't to tell an eleven year old."

Harry swallowed, "I still wish someone'd told me."

Minerva said, "I told Hagrid not to, if you must know. Not that I think I was the only one."

Harry smiled at that, "I think that's the one secret Hagrid managed to keep."

Minerva smiled thinly, "He keeps many more secrets than that, I'm sure."

Harry frowned, "If I... hadn't have weaseled it out, would I ever have known?"

Minerva nodded, slowly, "At some point, yeah. Count on it."

Harry nodded, thinking, "I'm sorry for being such a shite, Minnie."

Minerva snarled, "Get out of here, you dingbat!"

And Harry ran.

[a/n: This is in reaction to the thought that nobody ever sees McGonagall's quarters except for sex. So boo!

Some readers might be thinking they just heard some painfully ironic foreshadowing.

Harry responds to "I wonder if Harry realizes that Snape is no where near as obsessed with Harry as Harry is obsessed with Harry.": "Of course I know that. He's busy. Is it so wrong to want to be busy? Maybe if someone else would treat me like a functional human being and not just a kid..."

Author responds to "I wonder if Harry realizes that Snape is no where near as obsessed with Harry as Harry is obsessed with Harry.": Who says he's not. Snape's far better trained in multitasking than Harry, and we aren't in his head. But do note some of his early wording here, "Harry's ready to learn." Just exactly how damned long has he been waiting for that?

Reviews always appreciated!]