Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 88

"Harry!" Parvati said, "You won't believe what I found in my leaves this morning!"

"Oh?" Harry asked, trying for a semblance of politeness that he really, really didn't feel.

"The leaves say that you and Pansy are a most fortuitous match!" Yeah, if you mean she gets to murder me in my sleep.

Lavender smiled a bright, mean smile, and said, "I think that Pansy's trying to get your attention."

"Yeah, I've seen the way she looks at you and giggles, like, constantly, " Sue Bones put in from a row behind, and Harry wanted to groan. What was wrong with people?! he thought. Pansy looked at him like that because Malfoy was making snide comments (Harry hadn't actually heard any of them to know if they were funny or not, so he wasn't going to make judgements on the girl's sense of humor).

Still, at least Pansy wasn't in the class. Or Malfoy. Although,

Harry was getting strange glances from Millicent. Appraising glances. As if she was thinking about him in a whole new light...

This could be bad.

Ron acted weird all day - Harry had to avoid kicking his friend at lunch, out of sheer frustration about what in the world was wrong with him. He'd normally have suspected the twins had him high on something (he was certainly acting high as a kite...), but as they weren't even in the school, and Ron hadn't gotten any mail, AND Ginny wasn't pissed off at Ron today...

It was really rather unlikely. Maybe it was someone else's version of a prank? But, even so, that'd be a prank that'd happened sometime when Ron was in bed. And Dean and Seamus woulda come up with something more... flagrant. Neville certainly didn't seem the pranking type - at least not this type of prank. Harry could actually see Neville spritzing someone with a fragrance that their sweetheart was allergic to. And then manage to look innocent the whole while, laughing his butt off in the backalley, when the sweetheart's throat started to choke, not from nerves but swelling!

Anyway, whatever was up with Ron couldn't be terribly serious, as he hadn't said anything to his best friends. Harry could tell that by lunch the rumor had made its way to the Slytherin table - Pansy was studiously not looking at him, in such a way that she might as well have posted a sign "Not Looking at Potter. Couldn't Possibly Care Less." She was giggling with Tracy Davis and Millicent, and it was quite clear that she didn't have a care in the world. Except for the way she wasn't looking at Harry.

Of course, looking over at the Slytherin table to observe Parkinson was a new experience for Harry... However, in glancing that way, he found one very familiar pair of gray eyes looking back at him. And that look? It spoke volumes. Disgust, a strong thread of "Parkinson? Really?", disbelief. And yet, with all the emotions coursing through that look, Harry couldn't tell whether Malfoy actually believed the rumor, or whether he was just pretending to believe.

The rest of the day's classes passed in a blur, Harry trying to do his best to pay attention, but his nerves were rattled by the thought of his "detention" with Snape. Crap. He hadn't even told his friends about the detention, had he? Maybe he could pass off to Ron that he'd gotten it in the hallway? (Hermione'd know better, of course, but... she probably wouldn't tell). Still, it was bad policy that. No, he'd say he got an extra detention for mouthing off after class, and that Snape had decided to spring it on him. Random and arbitrarily dickish punishments were the man's speed, after all. Nobody could possibly say that was unusual.

One of the seventh year Slytherins, Frieda, saw Harry Potter walking towards Snape's office. Of course, since it was down in the dungeons, she felt free to misconstrue where he was going. Or so Harry supposed, as he'd never been sighted even trying to find the Slytherin Common Room, because she said, "Aww... Is poor little Harry Potter lovesick? Take a right there, and turn down the second corridor, and knock on the wooden cask, and ask for Pansy." She left off her directions with a giggle, and when Harry turned towards Snape's office instead (he had that path memorized from sheer repetition), she catcalled, "Aww, did I embarrass him? Everyone knows, Harry, everyone knows!" Her giggle set his teeth on edge, and he buried that emotion down in his gut.

He stood at Snape's ironbound door, and knocked.

"Enter." Snape said promptly. Harry was only slightly relieved, at least he wouldn't have to stand outside and wait.

[a/n: Harry likes to demand answers. Snape... is not always forthcoming. How many answers have you figured out, about what Snape is doing right now?

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