Nobody ever asked my birthday


One moment, Harry was breathless, stuffed inside a roiling, squeezing belly.

The next, he was squeezed upward, spurting through the slick stomach like a greased pig.

Higher, still, through the throat, and then Light - sheer, blessed light he swore he'd resigned himself to never see again. No matter that it was dim and murky - he could breathe again. "I thought I was dead," he whispered, speaking more to himself than anything. Slowly, he levered himself up onto his hands and knees - rejoicing in the ability to move again.

Snape spoke, from a point above him, "Surely you didn't think that I'd be that foolhardy? Murdering one of your students tends to have ... unpleasant consequences."

Harry looked up, at Snape's smirking face, "I didn't know you cared, sir." A muscle moved in Snape's face, though Harry wasn't sure what that meant.

"If I value my own survival, I might as well not be directly responsible for your demise. Though I might be able to talk my way out of Albus' disappointment... let's just say that Minerva would be a different matter." Snape continued.

Harry smiled, looking up at Snape, "Don't forget Hermione..." Hell, death would almost be worth it, just to see what she'd do.

"And what have you learned from your latest near-death experience?" Snape asked.

Harry sat back on his haunches, thinking... He looked upward with brilliant green eyes, blurting out, "This was your promised punishment, wasn't it?"

Snape responded with a grave nod, that was perfectly ruined by a good smirk.

Harry stood, hands by his sides (nevermind that the only thing coating his body was itchy belly-slime). "Do not poke my nose into other people's business. And that goes quadruple for the Head of House Slytherin, sir."

Snape said, "Your ill-considered actions put me in genuine fear for my life. I thought it only appropriate that I revisit the favor. Do not do it again, or I will not be so merciful." Snape turned to the toad, giving it a light pat on the head. "Still hungry, aren't you? Feeling a bit cheated...?" He treats the frog-creature with more caring than his students.

A thought rose in Harry's mind, burning through his self-restraint, "You wanted me to think I was going to die!"

Snape looked at him, like he was looking at a bug. He slowly raised one eyebrow, consideringly.

"If I hadn't been sure I was going to die, you'd have found something else! Until I really did think my death was certain!" Harry felt his nails biting into his palms, and shook in place, wanting nothing so much as he wanted to punch Snape's face until it was a bloody pulp.

"Often," Snape said with a smirk, "there's benefits to pretending to be slow. This is one of the rare instances where you were best served by being a gull cully."

Harry glared at Snape, who, unconcerned, went back to the frog, summoning a 100lb. pig from out of the swamp - the pig squealed at the sight of the frog, his body struggling - just the way Harry's had, half inside and half outside the frog's mouth.

Harry strode towards the door, grabbing it and starting to stomp up the stairs.

Snape asked, mildly, "Are you forgetting the Goblin's Gold?"

"Hang the Goblin's gold, sir!" Harry spat. He'd have made a good, grand exit, too, if he hadn't gotten to the top of the stairs, only to find them locked. He stood there, for a bit, and then sat down, the cold sinking into his tender bits.

It seemed an eternity, but was probably just a few minutes, before Snape rose out of the darkness, the luminescent Goblin's Gold glowing from his collector's basket.

"Here," Snape said, passing a pair of underpants to Harry. Black, of course.

Harry said, simply, "Thank you, sir." He knew better than to bring up James Potter... Harry knew the man's presence lay heavily over the both of them, as he wiggled into his underpants on the stairs.

"You are dismissed," Snape said, before opening the door to his quarters.

Harry kept himself to a walk, though it was a near thing - his adrenaline kicking in and urging him to run away as quickly as he could. Harry left Snape's quarters with his wand, his books, and a pair of black underpants. "Tempus," he spelled, as soon as he was out the door. It was after midnight.

Shite, Harry thought, everyone's going to be worried sick!

Harry walked up the many flights to Gryffindor Tower, aware that Snape was probably shadowing him - despite the unlikelihood of finding students or teachers abroad at this late hour.

[a/n: This chapter's as long as the last three, combined. Surely it warrants a review? What did you think of the scene in general? Does Snape's explanation suit? Do you think they need to talk more about why Harry didn't even attempt to use magic?

More importantly, did you believe that Harry wouldn't use magic in the situation? Is this fridge logic?

A cookie for the reader who already asked "why didn't he use wandless magic"!]