Nobody ever asked my birthday

Better get used to it

Last night, Snape had caught that angry glare that Potter had thrown like a lance at him. He didn't react, though he recognized the look.

Fuck off, old man.

It didn't take legimency to get that. Not when Severus Snape had worn it through most of his teenage years. His mouth had wanted to smirk, and he'd wanted to say to Potter, "Better get used to it, laddie."

Words and looks that would never cross his lips. Not so long as the war continued, at any rate. Not in public, never in private. It was one thing to be a drill sargent to Potter - giving him one shard of understanding? of sympathy? Not in hell's darkest depths could he afford that.

Yesterday, that look had anger, and rejection - and it was blessedly cool. Like a fresh-forged decision that sat well on the teenager's mind.

Today, Severus Snape sat at the High table for breakfast. Minerva twittered and Filius responded with glee. But Snape's eyes scanned the Hufflepuff table slowly - out of the corner of his eye, he could see Potter.

That look never boded well.

That was the look of someone putting pieces together, a sort of inward looking disbelief, "How could I have been so stupid to have missed it?"

Snape recognized that look - not from James, or Lily. It was one he'd worn, the day before the incident under the Whomping Willow.

And the entitled brat was staring at him, with that look on his face.

Potter had obviously put something together. Or only thought he had. Either way was ridiculous, and worthy of scorn. Snape wanted to snarl at Merlin and God above, "Now what?"

Because it was fucking obvious, if time had taught him nothing, that an adolescent with such a look on his face HAD TO dig deeper, had to learn more.

Any knowledge of Snape was dangerous, and Snape truly believed that anything that Potter might put together, true or untrue, would have to be obliviated. Idly, he fingered his wand under the table, sipping coffee black as sin.

Harry had hurried to breakfast, knowing that Snape liked to be there early. harry wanted to have eyes on the man, to at least visually inspect him.

He needn't have bothered, truly.

Snape was there, looking right as rain.

Harry knew his eyes burned, as he glared at Snape. In truth, he knew it wasn't Snape's fault Harry had just assumed. Over and over again. No, it was Harry's own fault, but he couldn't very well glare at himself, now could he? Maybe he should just conjure a mirror. Staring at Snape this much couldn't be healthy.

At least, unlike staring at Malfoy, people were unlikely to conclude that Potter was in love with Snape. Oh, that would just take the cake, wouldn't it?

Harry let the slightest trace of a smile grace his lips, as he leaned backward.

Still, Harry dredged up summer memories... there had been at least seven different instances (he'd stopped counting, and was remembering them by other landmarks) when Snape had shown up, looking drawn. Thin.

Not skeletal, nothing that ... concerning.

At the time, Harry had chalked it up to Answering Tom's Summons.

If that wasn't the case...

What the bleedin' hell had Snape been up to? And, for how long?

Harry mentally shook himself. He did not have a blessed right to the answers to these questions. These were dangerous questions, that he really ought not to be asking, even inside his mind.

But inside his mind was safe, mostly speaking.

He had learned his lesson.

He was not going to ask these questions, not to anyone.

With a sigh, he leaned his head into his hands. Not asking just meant the questions were going to squirm around in his mind, restless and unceasing.

[a/n: We'll see how well you do, Potter. We'll see.

Reviews appreciated!]