Nobody ever asked my birthday

The road less traveled

Harry Potter got to the RoR in time for training, for once. He'd started to stretch and relimber himself (classrooms were tough, you got all scrunched in one position, and then it hurt getting out). Hermione had arrived next, a flash of surprise at seeing Harry there, which had Harry fuming at himself. He liked practicing, he liked getting better at this. He didn't want to seem just a fair-weather student, at this at least, if not at other subjects.

Malfoy was there next, arriving like a stormcloud, both diaphanous and dangerous at once. He wasn't stretching, but was amusing himself by tossing around light conjured objects.

Ron, as per usual, was later than everyone else. He, too, was determined to do a good job - Harry could see it in the way he carried himself, the way Ron studied the field.

As Ron shut the door, Hermione and Malfoy turned to him as one. "How'd you know?" They both asked, Hermione's urgent voice rising high, and Malfoy's voice his usual casual drawl.

Harry couldn't resist, he started clapping, "Nice, two part harmony."

Malfoy turned a fierce glare on him, and said, "Oi! Says the tin ear!" his voice sounded casual, so the other two wouldn't have any idea of that flash of fury in Malfoy's eyes. Harry blinked, realizing that anything that implied a closer relationship between Hermione and Draco was probably treading towards dangerous territory. Harry creased the edges of his lips down, into what he hoped looked more like a frown than a pout. He nodded slightly, and Malfoy turned away -

Just in time to hear Ron asking, "What's this about, then?"

"You did it." Hermione said, her hands on her hips, "You figured out where Snape was going to be - and before I did!"

"Before me too," Harry chimed in.

"I'd like to know how you did it." Malfoy drawled, his eyes glittering with suppressed malice.

Ron shrugged, "Nothing to it, was there?" He shoved his hands in his pockets - he was actually made uncomfortable by praise, and was trying to look more casual than he actually was. "I counted who was going where, and then I headed in the direction with the least people."

"That's it?" Hermione rapped out. "How'd you know it would work?"

Ron said, "I didn't, not really. But I figure - what kind of a lesson is it if he's where everyone thinks he'll be?"

Malfoy rolled his eyes, and then stared up into space, "I am surrounded by idiots. And vanquished by them." The second sentence came out more as a sigh than anything else.

"That's right!" Harry said, grabbing Malfoy in a headlock, and starting to rub his head with Harry's knuckles.

"Oww! Not the hair, not the hair." Malfoy whinged and whined.

It had the desired effect. Everyone was laughing, including Malfoy as Harry finally released him. Malfoy made a big production out of reapplying hair product, saying, "If I don't put it on straightaway, it will look simply awful the entire rest of the week!"

Harry shrugged and said, "Pretty sure mine looks awful no matter what."

Malfoy looked down his nose and said, "I'll lay that at the feet of your awful relatives." A sick flush tried to roll through Harry's body. He didn't want anyone to know about his relatives, but Malfoy? That was like baring your belly to an angry cat. Malfoy continued, "You've never even met DeAngelo, have you?"

Harry blinked, trying to refocus his thoughts to the conversation at hand. "Can't say that I have. I haven't even heard of him, really."

Malfoy raised an eyebrow, and said, "And you call yourself a wizard?"

At this point, Hermione interrupted, "Just because he's not a ponce, doesn't mean he's not a wizard, Malfoy. I presume you're talking about DeAngelo Rosa, the same wizarding stylist that Lockhart used?"

"The very same," Malfoy said, smiling, "Not that I'm surprised that you remember which one Lockhart used. You had quite the memory in that class, as I recall..."

Now Malfoy was the one starting trouble, Harry thought, moving quickly to separate the two brains before their brawn won out (or worse, they might start kissing...).

"Two on Two today," Harry said, not waiting for anyone to say anything before starting to fling spells deliberately to nearly hit his friends.

[a/n: Malfoy, are you trying to be helpful or get punched?

Malfoy's response: The two are not as mutually exclusive as is generally held to be the case.

To the reviewer who described Snape's attitude towards Potter as being "treating him like a potion" - that's a wonderful, thrilling insight, and one I hadn't had. Keep 'em coming.

Reviews, as always mean I write more.

The title's from Frost, and it tickles me that I'm referring to Ron Weasley. Who would have thought?]