Nobody ever asked my birthday


Seamus, ever the hotheaded one, pushed to the head of the pack, before someone could say something they'd regret. "Waitaminute-" he managed to shout, before...

before other Gryffindors joined in.

Hermione said, bossily, "The tattoo's on the wrong arm."

Harry had noticed that, hadn't he? "You muffed it up, Goyle, you didn't even look upset." Harry said, his mouth quirking into a smirk that only Goyle would see.

"Finite Incantem." Someone said - Theo Nott, from behind Goyle.

Goyle laughed, a deep belly-rolling thing that shook the forest floor. "What's that the crazy Auror was always sayin'? Constant Vigilance." Goyle started to move, a prowl that seemed all the more dangerous from the bulk of the creature doing the walking. "They did well," he said, nodding to the two who'd cast. "They cast first and asked questions later."

Bones responded, "He's right. More importantly, they cast The Right Spells. We'd be having a pretty different discussion if they'd used the Avada."

Goyle said, "You can't take anyone for granted. Not in this war. Your best mate - hell, my best mate - might be a Death Eater."

A few people had been sending suspicious looks at Theo Nott, the quiet one of the bunch. He rarely spoke, but Harry wasn't surprised that he spoke now. "Go ahead and look at me," Theo said, "I know you're going to do it when I'm not looking, anyway."

Harry Potter spoke, then, "Just make sure to look at everyone like that. My family was betrayed by a member of House Gryffindor."

Ron, who'd been deceptively quiet, clapped Goyle on the shoulder, "Good lesson, mate."

Goyle nodded, and said, "It was Draco's idea."

Harry Potter knew that Draco Malfoy wouldn't have encouraged this line of thinking. Not with the actual dark mark on his bleedin' arm. He did, however, appreciate Goyle's intention - to hide his own cleverness behind Malfoy.

The DA in general seemed thankful - more than a few wanted to shake Goyle's hand, and Zach Smith was heard to opine that he'd known all along (he hadn't, Harry was fairly sure).

"Let's head back, it's getting late," Goyle said, as the excitement dwindled.

Malfoy was sitting in the entranceroom, on the floor, reading a book. He was also wearing a pair of gold-filigree glasses. They looked ridiculous.

Harry wouldn't have normally said anything, but he knew that Draco wasn't in on Goyle's plan, and if Draco was just sitting there, someone would be sure to congratulate him. Probably Neville Longbottom, the upstanding bloke that he was.

Harry let out a snigger, that turned into a full guffaw - naturally, while staring straight at Draco Malfoy.

"Something the matter, Pothead?" Draco sneered out impressively, while not even lifting his head.

"What, did you steal those glasses from your mother?" Harry Potter said.

"As if you're one to talk, about your glasses..." Draco drawled.

"What's wrong with my glasses?" Harry said.

"They're thick, chunky things - they look like you stole them off your grandpa or something." Draco Malfoy said, "Utterly unstylish."

Well. Harry was, actually, aware that they were unstylish. He'd just not bothered with being anything else.

They kept up the back and forth while everyone flowed out of the swamp "room", and Goyle shut the door. Did it disappear then, or later?

At that sound, Draco Malfoy stood up straight, "Alright, men." he said, then looked sidelong at Hermione Granger, "And women." She won that fight, I see.

"Your assignments are here."

"Bones, Abbot, you're leaving the Astronomy Tower. Look a little tipsy, but not drunk."

"Longbottom, you're mucky already. Leaving the greenhouse so soon? Better finish your Potions before bedtime."

The list continued, spreading people out, sending them out alternative exits. "Potter, you're with me." Draco Malfoy said, conjuring his best officious tone. "Sneaking around the dungeons gets you an escort straight to your common room. The first time, at least."

[a/n: Yup. Draco's enjoying playing both sides. Leave a review?]