Nobody ever asked my birthday

Jumping at Shadows

Severus Snape would appear to have decided to have a normal class for once.

He'd grouped them into quads, and then had ordered the quads to take on each other.

It was a decent way to think, to learn how to function in a group.

And Harry hated it.

He couldn't shake the well-founded suspicion that Snape was up-to-something.

As a result, half the time when Harry wasn't fighting a direct battle, he was jumping up, and shielding from other directions. Not that anyone was actually shooting at him. No, he just got to look like the Paranoid Arse that kept scaring everyone.

He had known he was overdoing it. Telling himself that hadn't helped, of course.

Malfoy, who had been halfway across the room, as much as told him, with a sardonic, "Constant Vigilance, Potter?"

Harry simply bowed, slightly, at Malfoy, then turned away, marched off to a corner, and stood in it - watching out of course.

It was easier here, safer.

Harry couldn't escape the glint of amusement in Snape's eyes.

At least Harry was pretty confident that Snape wasn't creating illusory creatures just to unnerve him.

Sitting in a corner, Harry could study everyone else. Hermione had a look to her, as if she was trying to discover the secret. Whenever she wasn't supposed to be fighting that is. Her wand moved in intricate patterns.

The Slytherins seemed warier than usual, too. Not like Harry, though. Harry was practically shielding without needing to think about it. Which, ordinarily, would be fine in DADA, but Harry very much did not want to get creative. Creative was entirely too interesting to certain third parties, and he really didn't want their attention BACK.

Harry just knew he was going to get horrible marks for this.

After Charms, Hermione pulled Harry aside. Her face was stern. "Harry, why is there an IOU from you for my third year defense book?"

"Err..." Harry said, admittedly not very suavely. Of course, stammering was quite difficult to attempt with any sort of grace, thank you very much. "Jake needed one?"

Hermione coughed, "And you just had to take my copy? Why did he need one anyway?"

Harry shifted uneasily, "You're the only person who keeps all their old textbooks, Hermione..." He hoped he didn't sound like he was whinging. Too much, anyway.

Hermione has her hands on her hips. That's never a good sign. "Why was it even necessary?"

Harry shook his head, "Long Story? Short Story?"

Hermione said, "Tell me the short one, and I'll tell you if I need the long." Which was exactly what Harry had intended, so one point to him.

"Snape wanted the book confiscated. So I confiscated it." Harry said, smirking.

Hermione looked at him with a look that said, I know what you're really saying, Harry James Potter. "You mean Snape wanted to confiscate the book."

Harry nodded, "And if he wants the book for himself, a third year defense book, he can ask me for it."

Hermione looked at Harry. "This story doesn't add up. At all. Why would a third year defense book be something that should be confiscated?"

Harry just said, "It was used. There were notes in the margins."

Hermione asked, simply, "Is it safe for you to have it, if it wasn't safe for Jake?"

Harry grinned, "Sure. Because I know better than to attempt strange spells at Hogwarts."

Hermione frowned, "If you say so. I can't say that I'm pleased that you're in some sort of pissing match with a Professor," Hermione sighed, "But I suppose it is Professor Snape, so... I believe the phrase 'he started it' applies."

Harry grinned gleefully, patting Hermione on the shoulder as he headed towards lunch, "too true, too true."

[a/n: Yes, Harry knows how to climb the girls' stairs. No, he doesn't do it on a whim. Leave a review?]