Nobody ever asked my birthday

Missive from the Mad Twins

Friday was Potions, and Harry hated Potions. Not the subject, although it was far from his best even when he tried really hard.

No, Harry hated potions because Snape was there. Harry felt bad enough about what he'd done when he wasn't watching Snape's back, or accidentally glancing up into Snape's bleak face.

And so, Harry's primary expression through breakfast was meant to be dread, with a certain bit of peevishness about Why couldn't Potions be later?

Then the mail arrived, and everything changed.

It was another letter from the twins, who had created a sigil for their jokestore which had twin lions with snakes heads on the tips of their tails. The snakes twinned together, almost a Caduceus, and the Lions' claws were tipped with gold, their teeth red (luckily not dripping).

Harry hurriedly buried the note in a book before Ron filched it - or Hermione demanded he tell her everything.

Potions was first, Harry thought, and he rabbited out of the Great Hall, practically out the door before anyone noticed he was off the table.

Harry went straight to that alcove a half turn above Snape's office, somehow in the middle of the stairs to the dungeon, behind a tapestry. It was the perfect place for reading just what the Twins had to say.

The first page was boilerplate, which was to say it was full of different explosions, accidents and general chaos.

But the second page... It had one word in the center of it, a cursive Yes. All around it were other words, as if put on the page by some mad painter, who'd spun the page as he'd worked. It was free association, questions and answers splayed everywhichway. They were curious - as why shouldn't they be? as to why Harry'd want to prank Snape. They wondered about the safety, but more about the fun, and about the intended outcome. Did Harry mean to best their record for Points Off in one year? There were points about technicalities too.

Harry had the strangely certain feeling that this was how they prepared pranks, products, all of it. Two hands, two heads, combining together to make beautiful artly thoughts, that swirled and vibrated as much as they lay on the page.

The next three pages were filled with idle musings, gossip, and a few more entries from what Harry had taken to calling The Anonymous Filer. Harry had read earlier, but hadn't really noticed - no, not until he was reading the letters one after another, that someone was writing anonymous letters to the Twins. Helpful letters, ones that opened new avenues the twins hadn't thought to explore.

Whoever it was, they didn't ask for payment.

It was time for Potions, Harry thought, roughly pushing the letter into his Charms book (if he left it in the Potions book, Snape might take it).

Harry was still early for potions, so he busied himself devising variations to the potion the Twins used to evoke love - in a fairy tale sense. They were using it for some DayDream products, that would let adolescent witches dream about their Very Own Prince Charming. Harry thought it was a bad idea - that Mirror flashed in front of his eyes, but he didn't mind trying to think up some variations.

Harry was so busy working that he failed to notice Snape entering the classroom. "Potter, what are you doing? You should know by now that insolence will not be tolerated." There were soft snickers from the Slytherins in the back.

Harry spoke softly, but clearly, "Essence of Murtlap will interact poorly with frostflower, because of their dueling amphibious natures?"

Snape paused, for a split second, and then asked, "Are you asking or telling?"

"Asking." Harry said, lifting his eyes to Snape's.

"Yes, though you'd find more codicils on the subject if you looked up Fruitful Flowers and other Herbologial Wonders, rather than wasting time in class."

"Thank you," Harry said, turning his eyes down as he flipped to a new sheet of parchment.

"Today, we will be working on a modified Strengthening Solution that is better considered a poison. Can anyone tell me why?" Snape started. Class continued as usual.

[a/n: Sigh. At least Harry didn't call Snape sir. When busy working, Harry's liable to forget a lot of things - like asking seemingly irrelevant questions in Snape's class is probably not the best way to stay on Snape's good side.

Harry: I didn't forget. How could I? But if he didn't respond, what harm was done? And staying on Snape's good side? What a laugh! He doesn't have a good side!

Snape: He's right. I'm equally ugly from all angles.

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