Nobody ever asked my birthday

A matter of timing

[a/n: Harry is aware that Snape can read his mind. This chapter will be more reactive, "fog of war" and "seat of pants" than Harry's real plan, which he's quite carefully not thinking about.]

Harry went to Potions class with Hermione, which meant that he was three minutes early, rather than one. When they neared the classroom itself, he hurried forward, his heart in his mouth. Discretely, he dimmed the sconces, just a bit, his wand up his sleeve. He opened the classroom door with a bang, bowing to Hermione, "If it doth please milady to enter, the lessons will be commencing shortly."

"Harry! I am not your lady!" Hermione said, sounding scandalized.

Harry's eyes found the nearest male in the corridor (which turned out to be Theo Nott), "I told you her wit was equal to her beauty. She won't be won by words alone."

Theo, who seemed momentarily confunded to have been pulled into an argument between two Gryffindors, said dryly, "And deeds of derring-do will do better?"

Harry nodded back at him (his shoulders folded just slightly, so it was more of a very-short bow), "I intend to find out."

Hermione had her hands on her hips, as she sniffed at him. "Harry James Potter! It is time for class. Stop fooling around, and go learn."

Harry responded with another bow, before gesturing towards the door that he was still holding open, "Ladies first."

"Oh! Honestly!" Hermione said before entering, continuing with her screed inside, "I am perfectly capable of opening a door."

Harry entered after her, closing the door. As he turned to find where she was sitting, he could see Snape's blacker-than-black gaze on him. It looked impassive, which was a bad sign. Harry tried to not let his anxiety show.

As expected from a wary Snape, spells started to erupt off of his wand. Detection spells.

Harry wished he had time to study the spells Snape was using - even the order was a useful bit of knowledge. He needed a distraction - casting about, he saw Pansy Parkinson sitting beside Theo Nott.


He took the three required steps to put himself in Pansy Parkinson's personal space, and then grabbed her by the shoulders, roughly kissing her on the lips. It wasn't a good kiss, but then again, it wasn't meant to be. It was meant to be a distraction.

Unfortunately, it might have been slightly more of a distraction than Harry had bargained for. Pansy, for one, had her hands curled into fists, and was breathing roughly through flared nostrils. Theodore Tiberius Nott, beside her, was staring at Harry Potter like he thought the correct answer was space alien. And Harry wasn't exactly sure whether that was "Harry Potter is a space alien. finally confirmed" or "Harry has been replaced by a space alien. News at eleven."

Harry's eyes belatedly saw Snape, whose mouth had dropped open. At least he'd stopped casting detection spells.

"Potter!" Snape barked, "Sit down. I will brook no distractions during class, is that understood?"

Harry, because everyone knew Harry Potter couldn't leave well enough alone, said, "But class hasn't started yet." He tried to sound sulky and not whiny.

Snape's eyes narrowed, and he said, quietly, "One of these days, Potter, your cheek is going to land you in a pit so deep you won't get out of it." Now, if that wasn't ominous, Harry didn't know the definition of the word. Harry would have preferred detention, even complete-waste-of-time detention, to talk like that. For one, he was going to be thinking about that the entire class. Snape knew it too.

Bastard finally decided detentions weren't working, did he?

As Harry got down to work on the skelegro potion, he was aware that Malfoy was glaring at him, heatedly. Shite, what have I done now? Harry wondered, chopping as if he couldn't feel Malfoy's eyes burning holes into his back.

Hermione was helping Harry, and they were doing decently - Harry might not be the best at remembering the exact heats and twirls of the stirrer, but he had long experience chopping, and Malfoy's tips at DA were actually helpful. Of course, Malfoy had to be a decent teacher to have kept Crabbe and Goyle passing Potions. Snape was notoriously demanding, and he wouldn't let standards slip that far.

Harry blinked, wondering suddenly why Goyle was so bad at Potions - he'd seemed to have trouble even in the DA, and Harry didn't think that was at all feigned. He should ask, sometime. Ron would tell him it wasn't any of his bleedin' business, but Harry would prefer to hear that from Goyle, if it was true.

About halfway through class, three spots of skelegro landed on Malfoy's hand and arm, eating through the fabric. He squealed like a girl.

Snape stood from his desk and strode over, right down the middle of the classroom. Doubtless, he wanted to ensure there wasn't any loose potion trying to tunnel to China.

As Malfoy passed Potter's desk, he smirked evilly, and then pretended to stumble. Instead, he splashed a Cheering Solution straight in Harry's face - and kept right on going, nearing the back of the classroom, before half-turning to observe his handiwork.

Harry, as expected, had a stupidly wide grin on his face, as he stepped away from his desk. He walked straight up to Snape (trying not to skip), and proceeded to hug Snape, his arms firmly trapping Snape's arms against Snape's sides. Snape's jaw had come practically unhinged - shock was written all over his face. Understandably, as they hadn't made a cheering solution for years, now.

At that exact moment, the twins tossed their candy in Snape's mouth, a perfect parabola from where they stood in the corner. Snape couldn't even have used his wand if he'd wanted to - Harry had his arms pinned to his sides.

Snape's mouth snapped closed - and then wouldn't open. His face started to turn a mottled red, as Harry belatedly released him, taking a sudden step back. Harry'd only just now realized that Snape was not going to take this well... at first. Maybe at all. And that would be the cheering solution wearing off.

Do you think me incapable of assigning punishments simply because you have stolen my voice? Snape's chalk wrote on the blackboard.

"No, sir." Harry said.

Snape gestured sharply, and the Twins lost the protection of the invisibility cloak.

Do you think yourselves invulnerable to punishment, now that you are so-called businessmen? I shall not deem you respectable, whatever you say.

Harry wanted to laugh at that last comment - 'Respectable Men of Business' was the last thing anyone would name the Twins.

"No, sir," the twins said, for once, speaking together.

Snape flung the door to the student Potions Cupboard open. You two miscreants will enter and remain, in the cupboard. Snape paused, and seemed to consider something, casting a quick diagnostic spell, By all means, touch as much as you like.

Malfoy, go to the infirmary. There is nothing to gawk at here. Malfoy left, and a swipe of Snape's wandless hand erased the board.

Snape wrote: As for you, Potter His wanded hand opened the door to his office. Step inside.

Harry did, and heard the door slam behind himself.

At last, he let himself start to think about whether this might work. Anxiety was poison, if you needed to do things, and do them right. Now that he'd tried, he was willing to ask the question: Did it work?

[a/n: Originally, all the stuff with Hermione and Muggle Camo was not going to get used. Then the twins decided to be uncooperative.

Oh, and yes, in case you hadn't noticed, kissing Pansy Parkinson in Public does have ramifications. Political ramifications.

... you'll probably get to see that, after the fallout from Pranking Snape.

and, just as a reminder, Snape has admitted to pranking people when he was in school. he is not 'poor widdle abused snape' who 'never did nuffin' to the Marauders.

Leave a review? Let me know how this turned out, it was hell blocking everything out!]