Nobody ever asked my birthday

And Malfoy liked tools

[Second post of the day]

Harry had been standing in front of Snape's office for what felt like hours, but was probably just a few minutes or something. He shifted from foot to foot, slowly, the practiced air of someone used to waiting for others. And trying to be quiet about it (Uncle Vernon hated him creaking the floorboards). Despite himself, he worried. What could have happened? Anything, that's what.

Harry's face brightened as he saw Snape striding down the hallway, before he caught sight of Minerva McGonagall, hot on Snape's heels. A different sort of dread rose in him then. Someone was in trouble, you never saw both of them without reason. It was as if they avoided each other... though McGonagall considered Snape a friend. Maybe she had to, because if she didn't, she'd have forced Snape to leave off teaching.

Harry fell into some sort of awkward parade rest, making sure he wasn't leaning against anything. As the professors approached, Harry found himself glad that there weren't Slytherins nearby (he'd been listening, with half an ear). He opened his eyes wide, "Am I in trouble? I didn't do it!" In Harry's experience, there were two types of teachers - those that enjoyed scaring the living shit out of you, and Rubeus Hagrid, who had quite enough of that on account of his rather large body, and thus liked it better if you smiled when you saw him coming.

Snape looked deeply unimpressed by Harry's shading of the truth. Which meant Harry wasn't in trouble, because if he was, Snape would probably be rubbing his hands together in glee. Or something like that. Behind Snape's shoulder, Harry caught McGonagall's mouth twitching. She at least enjoyed his game of pretend. Whether or not she'd caught on.

"You are to accompany us to the Headmaster's office," Snape said, pivoting cleanly on one heel, and nearly pushing McGonagall over.

As McGonagall stepped towards Snape, rather than the wall, she continued, "There's a matter we were hoping you could help clarify."

Harry nodded, and they walked in strict silence towards the Headmaster's office. Harry knew that Snape wouldn't have let the silence run like this - it was only drawing attention, as if they were the three Fates, on the march - or three riders of the apocalypse, now searching for their fourth. The very idea of Dumbledore as ... War? Made Harry smirk. He couldn't be Plague or Pestilence, and while Death might fit - Dumbledore was known to be more of a warrior...

Harry was first up the stairs to Dumbledore's office, though he couldn't say if that was intentional on the teachers' part. He entered, and sat in the far chair, leaving the near one for Professor McGonagall.

"Ah! Harry!" Dumbledore's eyes twinkled. "We were wondering if you could shed some light on an incident!"

"I'll do my best," Harry said, sounding a little more unsure than he actually felt. Either he knew it or he didn't.

Everyone just sat there, which Harry mentally interpreted as Snape (still standing behind Harry) glaring at the other two to get on with it, Dumbledore twinkling...

And there was McGonagall, right on schedule. "What exactly happened during Defense Class this morning?"

Harry took a deep breath, mentally composing what he wanted to say. "Snape said that we were practicing blindfighting. He drew a dueling circle around me. I assume he used Nox, though he might have used a handful of other spells. It was dark. He said not to dodge, so I didn't." Harry took another breath, "After the demonstration, he gave me a potion. I feel better."

Harry had his mouth open to say something else, when Prof. McGonagall cut him off. "Did he, or did he not, trod on your hand, in full view of the entire class, to the point where they could hear it breaking?"

Harry shrugged, "Was that what had happned?" Harry tilted his head, looking back at Snape, who as usual was completely expressionless. "I was in a very dark place, so I couldn't tell you. I doubt I broke bones, though - it's my understanding that those are difficult to heal."

Albus Dumbledore leaned forward, "Have you had any pain due to this lesson, afterwards?"

Harry smiled a cherubic smile, "No! It's the strangest thing, though," Harry said, directing his smile down at his left hand, which he flexed in a way he was dead certain Snape would recognize from class. "My hand works now!" It was true, it had been burned years ago. Harry had gotten his hand on the hot frypan, and ever since, his palm couldn't be stretched to full extension. It didn't matter for Quiddich, and it wasn't his wand hand.

Harry could see the questions simmering behind Prof. McGonagall's glasses, so he was glad when Snape said, "The terms of my contract, Albus, when it comes to harm perpetrated on students."

Dumbledore smiled, almost approvingly, "No permanent harm, nothing that leaves bruises or worse past when academically necessary."

Snape smirked, "I trust my contract will not punish me for helping a student?"

Dumbledore laughed, though McGonagall looked spitting mad. "I think we've unriddled this mystery," Albus said, gesturing toward the door in clear dismissal.

"You wasted my time, and Albus' " she hissed at Snape, as they went down the staircase.

Snape's voice, when it echoed down the spiral staircase, was lofty, "I would have told you, had you asked. Calling me on the carpet is hardly conducive to civil conversation."

Professor McGonagall left in a huff.

Harry turned to leave, only to feel Snape's long-fingered hand clasping his shoulder. "Forgetting about your detention so soon, Potter?" Snape's tone was mild, but that didn't stop Harry's stomach from dropping a foot.

[a/n: Yes, Snape enjoys stuff like this. Smug bastard. Leave a review?

Snape's snarky commentary on Potter was hilarious (and the source of the title). Anyone want it in an outtake?]