Nobody ever asked my birthday

Unleashed

Harry sat on top of the Astronomy tower, with the railing behind him and his feet dangling off the edge. He was supposed to be at the Defense Club meeting. Supposed to.

He wasn't.

The more he thought about it, there was something unnerving about being so paranoid earlier today, in class. When he'd been in the midst of it all, it had just seemed normal. Something to be dealt with.

Now, he was just trying to reassure himself with the simple, frail hope that Snape would have stopped anything too unusual.

These were strange thoughts, strange feelings.

Harry had thought that paranoia was an acquired trait.

Well, it certainly was that, he thought with a snort.

He was just worried about how he had acquired it.

Was it really his mind? His thoughts?

Or was Dark Lord Tom in his head again? Now not with visions, but with feelings? Feelings were squirrely thngs, Harry knew well. they had him screaming uselessly at the Dursleys, had him hugging Hermione for he knew not how long after Cedric died. He'd known, or at least thought he'd known, at the time, that those were HIS emotions.

Harry kicked his legs again, letting his shod-heels clank into the wall.

Harry knew he should be at Defense Club. Supporting Hermione, who was doing another damned competent job at teaching really boring material. Or it would be boring, if lives didn't depend on it. Harry'd always had buckets of focus for that. The wind whipped around his head, and he could almost hear, in it's light song, Hero.

Potter never heard Snape open the door to the Astronomy Tower's roof. Nor did he hear Snape leave, shortly thereafter. Snape ghosted through Hogwarts, his quickly moving form raising no alarm, even fifty minutes before curfew, which was when sane students finished their studies on intercourse and more academic matters, and headed to their dormitories for the night.

Snape found Minerva's office door, and rapped upon it smartly. At least no one was up here to bother him - even the Gryffindors steered clear of Minerva unless the problem was dire.

"Come in," Minerva said, and actually smiled to see Severus Snape, who stepped inside and closed the door softly. "What herd of wild hippogryphs brings you to my door? Or is it rampaging centaurs setting fire to the entire Forbidden Forest?"

"Neither," Snape said, sounding cross. "You have another lost lion cub to deal with. Top of the Astronomy Tower."

Minerva sat up, and started to say, "Surely-"

Snape gave her a dark look, and she choked on her words.*

"Oh," Minerva said, standing up, "That'll be Potter, then, won't it?" She looked at Snape with crossed arms, leveling a considering glare at him, "It wasn't you, was it?"

"Of course not," Snape said, in a voice that nearly purred.

[a/n: on occasion, Snape will bring a bit of brutal reality to poor lost little Gryffindors. Minerva was about to ask him why he hadn't handled it himself.

Snape is, by no acccount, nice - but can generally convert crippling or fatalistic despair into fiery rage.

'Dark sarcasm in the classrooms' indeed!]

*This isn't magical. he's got a good range of expressions to shut-people-up.