Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 98

Harry nearly bit his tongue with the effort not to respond to Malfoy, who was being a pompous, arrogant sod. As always.

Instead, Seamus responded, hot-headily biting off, "Where are your little toadies, Frog Prince?" That was a bit more insult than Harry'd thought Seamus'd be capable of. A bit more intelligence too. Harry Potter was mildly surprised that it wasn't Ron exploding into action...

"With the kind assistance of Miss Granger's orange menace, they are chasing invisible mice in the dungeons." Draco Malfoy said, aiming a half-bow at Granger, who stared at him like she'd never seen him before. Then again, he'd never, ever been even the least bit nice to her.

"Invisible mice?" Luna said, nodding knowledgeably, "Did you summon them, or merely charm them invisible?"

"Summoned, of course," Draco Malfoy said, pulling out his wand and waving it in a complicated gesture (even as half the room tensed), saying the incantation too softly to hear. Several nearby girls screamed. Lavender, in particular, was really loud, "It ran on my foot! I could feel it's tail!"

Draco Malfoy sat there smirking, as the nearby people dissolved into chaos.

About three minutes later, people were back to glaring at Draco - this time with reason.

"I had wondered where Crooks got off to!" Hermione Granger was saying, loudly enough that Draco was sure to overhear.

"No surprise," Draco drawled, "Lot of mice and rats in the dungeon. It's because of all the Hufflepuffs."

"MAL-foy!" Zach hollered. "Be-have."

"Oh, spoil my fun, would you?" Draco said, sulking obviously in a manner that reminded Harry of a five year old.

"Hannah wanted first crack at teaching, so, without further ado, Hannah, you're up!" Zach said, and Hannah stepped onto a short dais.

"I'm not turning my back on Malfoy!" Parvati said quickly. "Who knows what foul ideas he's cooking up right now?"

"None, actually. I'm thinking proper red-blooded thoughts about your figure." Draco Malfoy drawled - everyone pointedly ignored him.

Boot spoke up, saying, "I don't precisely trust Malfoy either. Maybe we could petrify him?" Luna looked at Boot disappointedly, and he continued hopefully, "Maybe just for the lecture portion? Other than that, someone'll be able to always have a wand on him. I don't want him interrupting our class."

Malfoy, who clearly disliked the loss of everyone's attention, intoned in that irritating drawl of his, "Fi-ine."

So, it wasn't actually Malfoy who spoke up next. It was... Cressilda. "You're locking up Malfoy?! It's Potter you should watch your back around - he's the hothead!"

Harry did have to admit she had a point, at least in the safe confines of his head. Outside of it, agreeing with the Slytherin was probably dangerous.

It didn't take terribly long for other Slytherins to chime agreement as well, and even a few younger Hufflepuffs joined in.

In the end, Harry didn't say a word. Just looked at Ron and nodded. "Petrificus Totalis" his friend intoned, and Harry felt his whole body freeze, except for his eyes.

Speaking of eyes, Malfoy's were drilling into Ron's - clearly indicating ... Ah! Goyle spoke up, saying, "If you're looking for hotheads, why not freeze the male Weasel too?" Unlike when Malfoy said it, Goyle didn't come across like he was insulting Ron - more like it was "Just A Nickname." Perhaps just trying not to use his first name.

Zach spoke up then, saying, "It'll be enough to have one apiece. If any of the rest of you are pricks, the petrified representative will take the beating. So keep your wands in your pockets, at least until it's practice time."

Harry couldn't help but notice the assessing looks some of the Gryffindors were giving him. Plainly put, they looked like they'd prefer it if they could somehow get Potter hexed. Harry couldn't see Hermione at all, but he could feel her fury coming off of her like waves.

Ah, there she was, Harry thought as Hermione stepped forward, her hair starting to show little blue lightning bolts. "Anyone intentionally gets Harry hurt, and they answer to me." And then, out of the corner of his eye, Harry saw Hermione smile. That wasn't a Gryffindor smile, either. It was a cool, cold, Slytherin smile that said, "I will get you back, and it's really not worth it."

Harry was very glad Hermione was on his side. She could be downright scary when she wanted to be.

[a/n: Well, that's the setup. Now for the actual class.]