Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 56

"Gryffindor," Snape's voice cut, cold as glass and dark as a moonlit night, "Will you do The House of Bravery proud? Will you show us the courage to leave Britain, and set yourself an example for your peers?"

Harry Potter's spine stiffened under the weight of Snape's words, and when he spoke, his voice was ice cold - and determined, "I will not."

"Slytherin," Snape said, his voice purring, that peculiar 'you're on very thin ice' tone that Snape loved to use, "Will you show Cunning enough to fight another day? Will you leave before the shots ring out?"

Harry's eyes narrowed as he stared at Malfoy, who swallowed once before answering firmly, "I shall not."

Minister Fudge opened his mouth, as if to say something - which was a very unwise move, all things considered. Severus Snape leaned back in his chair, adopting the position of a man in charge, staring down at his subordinate, "So, you see, you needn't worry for your campaign coffers, Minister." Snape's voice purred as he continued, "Your sinecure is safe, indeed."

Minister Fudge was strangely distracted from his original purpose, looking at Harry Potter with such a naked expression of greed that Harry wanted to find some place to hide. Nobody wanted him like that. He hadn't wanted anyone to want him like that.

Eventually (it had seemed like hours to Potter), Minister Fudge recollected his audience, and genially turned round to Severus Snape, "You have given me much to think about, Master Snape. I would ask, however, that you cease and desist any efforts to spread hysteria through the school, and through your students, to all Britain."

"If their direct experience with whom our governmental institutions are ruled by cannot sway them, I fear my rhetoric is but a poor shadow, insubstantial and unlikely to change their stubborn minds." Snape said, surging to his feet. "Fools, one and all!" Snape turned away at that, and his robes billowed behind him, as he swept his way out the staff door.

Which left the somewhat flummoxed Minister Fudge staring at the table, when Minerva McGonagall transformed. "I do say, sir, that you are required to get permission from the Headmaster," she paused for a moment, "Or the assistant headmaster, to enter Hogwarts Castle or its grounds. Suffice it to say, that permission has been henceforth revoked."

Minerva McGonagall sat in the seat that Severus Snape had vacated, and stared at Minister Fudge until he - rather genially and meekly, bid the whole of Hogwarts adieu.

Harry Potter hadn't liked that look on Draco Malfoy's face. It wasn't one of arrogance, nor one of pride... it had, well, Harry might have almost said, ... it looked like fear.

The rest of the student body erupted in comments directly after the Minister had left (Minerva's cold glare had kept them quiet beforehand). "Why do you suppose he did that?" Luna Lovegood asked. "Doesn't it strike you like poking a hornet's nest?"

Harry's eyes found the blonde, who had somehow managed to wind up at the Gryffindor table (Harry was mildly surprised that Snape hadn't called her on it, being in charge and all). "Of course it was. Merlin, I hope that wasn't the whole point."

Ron, still eating (always eating), said with his mouth full, "Of course it wasn't! He's a great big git, and found a way to take it out on someone his own size."

Hermione, giggling, said, "I think the Minister outweighs Professor Snape." And they all had a good, soul-clearing laugh at that one.

[a/n: What's Snape up to? Wouldn't you like to know? I'll take guesses in the comments.]