Nobody ever asked my birthday

Homework Mania

It was a Sunday, and a rainy one at that - Harry'd had as much work to do trying not to slip as to avoid any of Snape's traps. Or hexes, Harry was sure a few of them were live spells, not triggers.

He sat down at breakfast, early as usual, and Hedwig flew over to him, with a cream-colored letter attached. There was no envelope. Harry gave her an owl-treat (he always had some in his pockets), and nuzzled her head with his, before relieving her of her messenger burden. She hooted at him, and flew off gracefully - a lone bird at breakfast was a beautiful sight.

Harry leaned back and unrolled the letter. First off, It's from Snape. Harry would know that handwriting anywhere, ever since first year. No one else wrote like that - quick and hasty. Harry fought back a scowl, I bet the Marauders had something to do with that. Imagine working in the library, and trying to finish your homework before Seamus managed to set it on fire! At least, I know Seamus wouldn't have done it on purpose. Harry'd managed, himself, to just not do the work, when Dudley'd been about. Snape had too much pride - ambition - to simply let himself fail. Even if he could have learnt it all on the side.

The brief note said:

Detention, 7 o'clock.


It was unsigned, but, really, there was no need to sign it.

The time for detention was a different sort of cruelty than Snape's generalized one, Harry thought with venom. Normally, Snape would be content enough to merely assign detention across Hogsmeade, or during Quiddich practice. He'd threatened, but never actually followed through, with assigning detention during a Match. Harry wasn't sure if that was 'fair play' or the knowledge that the Twins (who were a dab pair of beaters) would take it ill. Nothing like seeing Malfoy wind up in the hospital to make Snape's week, eh?

No, Sunday Evenings were sacred in House Gryffindor. They were the time when everyone rushed to complete homework assignments they'd needlessly procrastinated on. Homework help was freely taken and given, everyone needed someone else's help, and little clinics tended to flourish around Tranfiguration and Potions. Hermione had been Ron and Harry's go-to, obviously, but everyone worked as manically as they could. The common room was a little beehive, humming with activity.

And, Harry was going to miss it.

Which meant that not only did he have to finish his homework - without a roomful of confederates to bug for help on questions, but he also had to finish his Animagus reading. And maybe see about dreaming about what kind of Animagus he might be. His da was a stag, right? Harry thought hopefully. It would be a somewhat useful skill, in that case. Deer were lithe and capable creatures, good with balance - and they looked right at home in British woods. Better he wasn't a wolf, or a bear - though they could fight, they'd be little use for just being. And entirely too recognizable. Harry'd hate to think he cost Great Britain an entire species because the Death Eaters had started killing all wildcats, or polecats or whatnot.

[a/n: Guesses as to Harry's animagus form are welcome! I have to admit, making him a skunk would tickle me pink!]