Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 80

"We will start with the concept that there are no rules, here, except for non-interference from the rest of you." Snape said coldly, and chanted three spells in quick succession. "The spells I have placed here will hopefully prevent excessive damage from spilling out onto the rest of the class. You should all be prepared to shield, just in case." The Ravenclaws, in particular, murmurred at that, sounding more uneasy than Harry would have been, in their shoes.

Keeping that glare trained on Malfoy, who was just as emphatically smirking back at him, Harry noticed which Ravenclaws had made Snape's Inquisition. More than half of them were the ones Snape had been trying to drive out of his class last week. That meant something, Harry was pretty sure. Not that Harry'd figured out what, exactly.

"Malfoy, Potter, you're up." Snape had that smug look on his face, and Harry Potter wasn't sure if he was being smug because Draco was going to beat Harry, or vice versa. Knowing Snape, he could be smug about something else entirely (the whole Inquisition thing, say... which was a dirty nasty trick).

Harry Potter stepped inside the gold limned ring, timing it for exactly the instant that Malfoy did the same from the opposite side. Harry found himself, almost surprisingly, perfectly calm. So, he did exactly what he'd been planning. Three quick spells - two stunners, and a Aquamenti, the last landing on Malfoy's head. With a fwoosh, washing all Malfoy's perfect hairstyle away.

Malfoy had a nasty smile on his face, and he yelled out, "Serpensortia,"

Oooh, that was a mistake, Harry thought. Did he think that I was mad at him? Still angry?*

Harry Potter wore a manic grin that tiptoed to the edge of madness. "Gemino, Gemino, Gemino," Harry cast, reminding himself to use his wand. Now there was not just one viper heading towards his feet, but eight. Harry folded down, landing on his knees, and hissed, "Greetings, young ones. Attack the other boy within the circle."

The snakes hissed back, "Yes, speaker," as Harry unfolded, pulling himself to his feet in a display of sheer strength. I'm not twelve anymore. I'm not the chosen one, either.

As the snakes squirmed towards Malfoy - their scales twisting one over the next, Malfoy sent Potter an unreadable look, conjuring a shield.

Harry rebalanced, planting his feet as he began to think. It was a shame the stunners hadn't bounced - that would have been an easy kill. Malfoy cast a spell that summoned a hawk, and then released his shield.

As the hawk gained altitude, Harry spat a whip-like spell at Malfoy, who rolled to dodge, his robes flapping like some sort of ungainly bird. Harry Potter sent out a tantallegra curse, sending Malfoy dancing.

Malfoy responded by levitating Harry upwards. Harry, rather than respond, concentrated on transfiguring the floor into rubber. He glared at Malfoy's smirk, and sent a gust of wind, replete with shattered glass, towards Malfoy, who dropped Potter to shield his own pretty face, the shield shattering seconds after the wind died.

Left to his own devices, Potter, quite prepared for this, bounced off the floor, rising and throwing a Balloon Curse at Malfoy (guaranteed to send the participant floating in the air, bloated like a balloon). Of course, that wasn't the point - the Balloon curse happened to have a striking similarity in color to the Avada, and so it made a decent simulation. Malfoy shielded, and the curse bounced - Harry held his breath, heart pounding.

"Win to Potter." Snape said, "We would like to congratulate you on not actually employing Unforgivables in an academic setting. Chang, Bones, you're next." As the two girls shook themselves out of their 'watching a battle' stupor, Snape continued, "As the Avada Kedavra is the only Unforgivable useful in a combat situation, you may simulate it by using the Balloon Curse - or any other spell of a similar color."

*Harry's completely misreading Malfoy.

[a/n: Reviews? Apparently this class is going to take a bit longer, because battle scenes. Ayiyi. Yes, battlescenes.]