Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 68

"And one more reason," Snape said after a fair bit of silence had descended. Harry tilted his head in consideration, listening. "You weren't just yelling at me once the class had left..." Snape said, looking suddenly at Harry, "Were you?"

Harry Potter considered, and then said outright, in a voice that both objected and assented at once, "Nossir." Snape looked nearly impassively at Potter, clearly waiting for him to explain himself.

"It's not just you, alright?" Potter burst out, and then, collecting himself, "But you just had to complain about me being a - celebrity."

"Oh, brighten up, Potter," Snape drawled, "You needn't have taken that so personally, when you were certainly so ill-acquainted with it, in the first place."

"Did you really have to single me out, though? First day of class and all that? A personal pop quiz just for me?" Harry Potter demanded, his voice rumbling low with suppressed anger.

"Have to?" Snape said, his brow furrowing slightly. "No, lad, I wanted to."

And that statement stopped Harry cold. He simply stared at Snape, silently compelling him to finish his thought. After a lengthy pause, Snape continued. "It certainly was helpful when young Draco Malfoy would come home to his father with all the torrid, lurid tales of Potion Master Snape's quite personal antagonism for The Boy Who Lived, wasn't it?"

Harry's mouth worked slowly, not really saying anything, as if he was chewing on thoughts. And so he was. He hadn't, not really, rethought any of that. But if Snape was who Harry had observed him to be... then he quite certainly had had more than just one simple ToDo on his calendar for that day. And it certainly didn't read "Pick on the new, famous Potter."

"if it's any consolation," Snape said slowly, "You couldn't have done a thing about your celebrity. Even a complete ignoramus would have gotten attention in your shoes. 'Boy who Lives is a Dullard! Board of Directors puts Dumbledore on Trial for inability to teach Boy Who Lived!' The headlines would have been atrocious and repulsive."

"I'm just..." Harry started slowly, his voice gaining momentum as he went, "so sick of people not even bothering to look at me. All they see is what they've been told to see - and that's it. They don't know my favorite move in Quiddich, they don't know when I'm sick, or when I'm faking a smile. They don't see me at all."

"Well, that is something you can fix." Snape said, "If you want to live in the limelight your entire existence." Snape let out a soft snort, "I can think of worse punishments, truly." Snape studied Potter, and then said slowly, "Or, you could consider it a trade. Not living in the limelight ensures that you can have some privacy."

"Yeah, with a hat." Harry said with an impish grin.

"Or Polyjuice, should you ever prove capable of brewing it." Snape said with a smirk. "Be anyone you like, and defy the world to rat you out. Draco Malfoy would have trouble finding you in a crowd, under a different face - you realize that?"

Harry found himself smiling, suddenly, just the thought of freedom, even at the bottom of a bottle, felt liberating. Light at the end of a tunnel, you might even say.

"How's your assignment going?" Snape asked, his voice almost deliberately impassive.

Harry blinked, turning aside from what he'd been thinking about, "Time will tell, sir. I've gotten Smith involved, and he's too touchy to prod too often," Harry had to ask himself if Snape really cared about the assignment, or if his almost disinterested voice was showing his true feelings. If he really cared, well that might have been reason alone to stir Potter up in class. Harry deliberately set that aside. No, there were easier ways to give Harry detention - and more importantly, there were quicker methods to discuss something of importance, which was quite a thing with an impatient cuss like Prof. Snape.

Snape nodded, "Indeed, but I was speaking of your other assignment."

Harry nodded, saying, "I haven't had a chance to work on it yet."

"See that you do, then." Snape said. "And, in the future, try to remember that silencing spells mean that your screams will aggravate fewer students."

Harry blushed, suddenly realizing just exactly how half-cocked he had come into this conversation, "Yes sir." he said, before turning to leave. Snape canceled the spells on the door with a quick clap, and then Harry was outside, the door closed. He found himself breathing heavily... Slowly, he started to trudge up the stairs towards Gryffindor Tower. He really did have stuff to think about, and not just his neglected assignment, that had suddenly had a life of its own, wrapping it's snakey scales around his chest, and giving a warm squeeze - as if to remind him that he still had to do it, and that he wasn't going to forget again.

[a/n: Finally! On to the next intersection! Leave a review!]