Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 81

Harry Potter faced off against Chang, who had won her round against Bones with a truly interesting bonebreaking curse. Bones was headed to the hospital wing (Potter's still angry face had quirked at the sight of a series of wheels, designed to send her there without assistance. Apparently there was a reason they were taking class on the seventh... floor. Hm. Intentional or not?).

Snape had made marks on the board (that had appeared at a wave of his hand, already pre-labeled with Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin. Yes, those were the houses in alphabetical order, but it was also the arrangement in the Great Hall), indicating who had won. Potter had four points, Malfoy three, Chang two, and Bones one.

Hermione was up next, and Harry leaned forward, both excited to watch his friend fight, and a bit alarmed - what if her spells didn't work? If you so much as missed one spell in a fight, you were liable to wind up screaming... At least Hermione was up against Abbot - she'd fight fair, wouldn't she? From inside the golden circle, the fight started - quicker and more earnest than Harry's had been - not in the least playing. Then again, Hermione could probably not afford to play right now. Magic was intent, was will - and of all the people he knew, Hermione had the will of a hammer. So plunging forward just was the sensible thing to do. Out of the corner of his eye, Harry noted that Draco Malfoy was watching - if anything, looking even more intense. Probably trying to figure out how she's casting.

Hermione fell to a knee, Abbot sending a cutting curse flying at Hermione, who shouted "Protego!" - and nothing happened.

The shield simply wasn't there - leaving Hermione to take the cutting curse on an upflung arm. Instead of shrieking, her hand moved in an intricate motion. "Lumos," she whispered, and Harry was glad he was so close or he'd have missed it. Bright light poured out, searing through his suddenly shut eyelids. Around him, Harry heard screams, shrieks, people stumbling around in terror. Even Malfoy was cursing, low. Snape, who had been watching like a hawk, cursed a spell. His sight was Nearly Normal again, Harry found, as he found Hermione (wearing sunglasses, of course), sitting on Abbot, Hermione's wand to Abbot's throat. "Yield." she said sternly.

"I yield." Hannah said, eyes wide and more than a little scared.

"In the future, Miss Granger, try to contain your attacks towards your opponent, and not the audience. However do you expect anyone to learn if you blind them, permanently?" Snape said snidely.

Hermione Granger paled, and stepped back as the battles continued. Nothing would quite top that battle, not even Hermione facing off against Edgecombe. Harry kept a close watch on the battles - and apparently Hermione was too, as her stockings had changed to green and silver, without her even noticing a thing. Malfoy, Potter thought, and automaticaly glanced over at the silver-eyed youth, who smirked back. Does paying attention to him make things worse? Maybe he'd be that much worse if I wasn't paying attention...

The Gryffindors had started out in the lead, pulling in more than double what Slytherin had in the first four rounds, and the others pulling even less than that.

The last six rounds were won solidly by the Slytherins. While not nearly as competent as Malfoy, or Potter, or even Ron, they were solid, and put down the likes of Parvati and Brown quickly. Even Justin went down with a hard crash.

As the last round ended, Snape looked at the board. Slytherins on top - not for having the best duelists, Harry thought, but for not having any supremely horrible ones.

"Can anyone tell me why Slytherin won?" Snape asked in that crystal cold voice, glinting with malice.

"No, how about my Slytherins?" Snape said, the icicle sharpness nearing the surface.

"That will be one detention for each of you then, for knowingly depriving the rest of the class of your brilliance." Snape said snidely.

"The rest of the class' assignment is to analyze the Slytherins, their order from top to bottom, and explain why they won... and lost." Snape gave a mocking bow, clapped his hands together, and said smartly, "Class dismissed."

Later, Harry growled, safe in the safety of his own mind, I'll deal with you later.

[a/n: Okay, who's harry talking about? Got any clue about the Slytherins? Sorry for wiping most of the class, but it's really not too important. Leave a review - guess what's coming next.]