Nobody ever asked my birthday

Old Man Snape

[a/n: second post of the day.]

Draco Malfoy knew scheming like a weaver knew weaving.

He'd felt something, earlier, unknit inside him, when Snape strode into the Great Hall.
Looking completely unaffected, because there was no reason for him to look otherwise, was there?
Draco's father and godfather had been two pillars in his life, for as long as he could remember. His father was there, all alabaster and stern. He shone, with the cruelty of the sun's bright rays, and taught his sun the way to grow, in his image.
Snape had always been different, the ebony pillar. Snape had never needed to demand obedience.
He'd simply assumed it. Snape had, however, asked for cleverness. Cunning and trickery.
With Snape, there had always been a way around. A method to win, even when he'd been at his most unforgiving.*

Draco had excelled at finding it.

He knew, had known, that they'd been feuding... He'd, at first, considered it a sport - designed mostly to keep the Dark Lord amused.

Torture was well outside what even Death Eaters considered sporting. They were playing for keeps.

And Draco? Well, he was going to need to pick a side.

Still, there was no need to turn down an opportunity... Draco Malfoy thought. He'd been nearly first out the classroom door, and so it was that he'd stood at the side of the hall, near a small alcove, until Potter's head crested the door. He lifted his chin, tilting his head toward the alcove, and slipped in.

Oddly, Harry Potter entered without even his wand being out. Draco Malfoy knew Granger would have demanded answers at wandpoint. Weasley wouldn't have entered in the first place. Longbottom would have shown, bowed, and asked to speak at another time - his wand drawn the entire time.

Draco didn't think this was precisely bravado. Nor was it, well, anything sensible. Goyle might have entered the same space with the principle that "my fists are quicker than your wand; and certainly quicker than mine." Not Potter. Draco Malfoy rather had the idea that Potter hadn't thought of his wand.**

Draco lifted a finger, in the universal, one moment please. He spun his wand into a figure eight. It wasn't a charm, not exactly. It was a weaving, and had all the advantages and disadvantages of it. For one, you couldn't stop the weave if you wanted the effect to continue. It was silent, and that was good, with all the people outside. For a third, it had a bit of rebound - this one was to capture sound, keeping it within the range of the spell. It could easily deafen you, if you weren't careful.

"Old man Snape's pretty spry for someone who's dined on curses and torture overnight, isn't he?" Draco Malfoy said, his eyes appreciative, as he looked at Harry Potter.

"How do you know that?" Harry Potter asked.

Without speaking, Draco flicked his right hand up to his left forearm.

"I guess the wages of evil aren't all riches and catamites, are they?" Harry Potter said, a wry grin tracing his lips.

Draco had his mouth open, ready to zing back something, when Harry Potter held up his own finger. "Wait, don't answer that. I didn't mean it." Potter nerviously ran his hand through his hair, and said quickly, "I'm not Hermione. She has a moral compass like nobody else. It says Right and Wrong on it, and nothing else." Potter shook his head, and divulged, "I've been hungry enough to steal food, before. My relatives decided I could deal without supper for a week. Luncheon too. Hermione'd say that stealing was wrong, and then she'd probably hit me." She probably would.

Draco nodded, acknowledging all of what Potter had said.

Potter asked, "Why are you telling me this?"

Draco shrugged, stuck his hands in his pockets, and tried to look casual. "You're good for it. Not the type to go spilling it, are you?" If Potter was, it would be Snape's secret. This was a classic win-win situation. Shared secrets strengthen a friendship, after all.

Draco Malfoy suddenly straightened, "Wait, were you just calling Severus Snape a poof?"

Harry Potter's face darkened, "No, eww, I never want to think about adults' sex lives!"

Draco Malfoy creased his face in consternation, "Then - why mention that?!"

Harry Potter seemed to straighten up, and then he spit out, "I was talking about you, okay?"

Draco Malfoy would later admit to himself that he had over-reacted. It hadn't felt so at the time, "Why do people keep on assuming I'm gay?!"

Harry Potter seemed to shrink back into himself, as if Draco Malfoy's anger had overtaken the room. Draco had to admit it felt good. "You're slight and small of build."

"That's it?!" Draco Malfoy said, flabbergasted.

"Listen," Harry said, "I was just joking. You know we see eye to eye" unfortunate choice of words, Potter, "And I'm no heavier than you are."

Draco Malfoy smirked, "a hundred and ten pounds soaking wet."

"My cousin calls me a poof, all the time at home." Harry Potter said, smiling wryly, "He's about three times my weight, so I let him talk."

Draco Malfoy smirked back, "Didn't think you'd turn a fight down, Pothead."

"Just didn't seem worth it." Harry shrugged. "Anyway, it was just a joke."

*not precisely true.

**Potter, actually, was more focused on not having half the Gryffindors poking their head in. It's one thing to duck into an alcove to tie your shoe. Brandish a wand while doing so, and you are officially Up To Something Probably Not Good.

[a/n: Leave a review? Anyone got an idea as to what you bribe a sentient castle with?

Harry is substantially more willing to discuss a particular punishment than to tell even his friends about abuse. You'll note that Draco doesn't take "one meal a day" as "worth throwing a hissy fit over." Might be why he's getting told so casually, what Hermione had to suss out of Harry.

Boys, from my experience, are a lot more sensitive over being called homosexual.]