Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 62

Most people had turned away when Snape had tromped off, attending to their own assignments. Harry, vaguely aware that Goyle was - shaking? beside him, still kept a weather eye on Hermione and Malfoy. "Professor," he heard Hermione say in a low, calm voice that gave him a cold shiver up the spine. Professor Snape stopped, looking down his nose at Brown and Parkinson, both of whom looked like they'd much rather be talking about hair products than having Snape look over their shoulder.

"Hmmm?" Snape said quietly, his eye meeting Hermione Granger's for an instant, before returning to looking over the two fidgeting girls' shoulders.

"These are listed as muggle, muggleborn, half-blood, and pureblood. Do I count each use as a quarter?" Hermione asked plainly, her voice still soft as featherdown. Harry's eyes instinctively looked at Malfoy's, but there was a suspicious blankness there - not the triumph that Harry'd been expecting. Whatever Malfoy had meant to happen with this list, he hadn't meant this reaction, it would seem.*

"Yes, that would be wise." Snape said, moving on to where Finnegan was wryly making faces with a Ravenclaw rather than actually evaluating their work.

Harry's eyes flicked towards Goyle, who was looking down at his shoes, and mumbling to himself. Quietly, Harry slipped a bit nearer, hearing the mumble resolve into: "Wasn't supposed to know. It's Snape's class, why can't he grade us himself? Not supposed to be noticed."

Harry smiled a thin, tight smile at that, raised a hand, as if to clap it on Goyle's broad shoulder, before thinking better of it. Instead, he nudged Goyle with his own shoulder, which had about the effect of dropping a feather on a boulder. Still, Goyle looked up, and Harry said, "It's okay. I wasn't allowed to get better marks than my cousin, all through primary school."

Goyle looked at him in more confusion than surprise.

"It's okay." Harry repeated, leaning on the second word and hoping that Goyle would understand. Slowly, a cautious realization seemed to dawn in Goyle's eyes, as he nodded quietly, almost thankfully, at Harry.

Hermione Granger's voice impinged on Harry's conversation at this point (on most people's, really), as she spat at Malfoy, "How do you even know all this? This is all Dark Magic!"

Smirking, Draco Malfoy, in a softer tone that still carried (at least to Harry's ears), "I am my father's son. He's quite the collector you know. I am required to know what he'd like to acquire - and what he's sworn will never cross his threshold."

"I suppose you're looking to gather all the Muggle and Muggleborn hurting ones?!" Hermione said shrilly.

Draco Malfoy yawned ostentatiously, his arms over his head, as he shook his head, "Those are quite a bit less useful in the circles my father is generally in, believe it or not." He shook his head firmly, and said, "He's more concerned with the side-effects on the user, than on who it can kill, maim, or dismember." Hermione Granger didn't have anything to say to that, so into the silence, Malfoy (ever the git) asked, in a state of worried perplexity, "Did you really find a hundred ways to kill someone with a spoon?"

Hermione Granger returned a bright, almost disturbingly cheerful grin, as she nodded.

"I fear the cutlery are revolting!" Draco Malfoy said, still pale, and then (Harry only caught this a moment later) waved his wand inside his sleeve.

Hermione Granger looked down at her skirt, and below, to her now Slytherin green socks. "Why you!" Her hands were trembling fists, as her face turned red as Weasley hair.

Draco Malfoy's eyes glittered with a malevolent gleam, "You can't, can you?" he said softly. Harry palmed his wand, still in his own sleeve, and prepared for this class to actually turn into Defense. Or offense, or something like that.

Draco Malfoy yelped, turning around and looking to see who had stung him with the Stinging Hex. Behind him were two Ravenclaws, a brunette and a blond.

Neither of them, of course, were the issuer of that Hex, though they both were flinging enough small spells between them that it looked believable. No, that was Snape, by now halfway around three Hufflepuffs nearby, who was... discretely trying to suggest to Malfoy to keep order in the class.

It didn't work, but not because of Malfoy. Hermione Granger had taken advantage of Malfoy's distraction to land a solid punch into his cheekbone, sending him down to the floor. Standing over him, still panting, Hermione Granger hissed something at Malfoy that Harry'd bet was "change them back." Draco, hand on his already swelling cheekbone, simply smirked.

In a deadly silent tone that seemed to mesmerize the class, Snape hissed, "If you cannot use words instead of spells, I will take your wand for the remainder of the class." Only, Snape wasn't looking at Malfoy and Granger (the words didn't make sense for that, either) - he was hissing at the two Ravenclaws. "And you will be target practice regardless of your inability to defend yourself."

Both Ravenclaws tried to look guilty and "puppy dog" innocent at the same time, while looking attentive to his words. Harry was certain they wouldn't stray... at least for this two hour interval. A quick glance told Harry that Hermione and Malfoy were both standing, trying to resemble attentive classroom partners, rather than hexing rivals.

*Um, no. Of course he didn't. He didn't know that Granger would be looking at it, because Snape generally grades his own work!

[a/n: Well, I thought this would be done this chapter. It's not. Also, Goyle kept talking, so we got more of him.

Snape's pretty much always like this (he's deliberately shielding Malfoy, and (unfortunately) Granger from getting in trouble).

Draco, last chapter, was honestly scared. He'd never thought of a spoon as an implement of mass destruction before.

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