One-word Description

Severus opened the gilt-edged card.

"You are invited," read the elaborately-scripted gold letters, "to a gala celebrating Mr. Harry Potter's 30th birthday at the Ministry of Magic. To rendezvous, write a one-word description of Mr. Potter in the box below."

Severus snorted at the blinking box. "Humph. They think I have time for this foolishness?" He dropped the invitation in the wastebasket by the door on his way out, stalked a few steps down the corridor...then stopped, whirled, and picked it up back.

"Birdbrained," he snapped, tapping the box with his wand.

"Word not found in the Standard International Proper Wizarding Dictionary, 253rd edition," the box replied in disapproving red. "Please try again."

"Infuriating," Severus snarled, a bit more force in his tap this time.

"Word not allowed," the box responded blandly. "May we suggest: 'charming.'"

Severus stared. His lips pulled back in a not-quite-grin. "If that's how you want it..."

"Glad I wasn't sitting next to Ron right then," Harry chuckled languidly a few nights later.

"If he bespelled those ridiculous invitations, he deserved it," Severus retorted.

"Oh, that was Hermione--though she should've known better than to try a censure spell. Those things never work right."

"Heroic, valiant, princely, famous, dreamy, mesmerizing--"

"'Slytherin!'" chimed Harry on cue. "I hope someone took a shot of Ron's face with the picklepeach wine dripping off it! 'The greatest Gryffindor in history, and he gets called a Slytherin?' I could hear him all the way from the podium."

Harry's eyes, filled with amusement, had slid to him for a moment, to be met with an ironically-raised eyebrow.

"The Boy Who Lived...and the man who survived Voldemort, Dumbledore, and the whole blighted wizarding world. If he thinks that's by pure Gryffindor hard-headedness, tell him I have a cure for hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia I'd love to try on him."

"Though the last still remains to be proven," Harry pointed out wryly. "These days, I'm less and less certain."

"Humph," Severus snorted, "quite right. I'd forgotten that you're unlikely to survive yourself. You'll probably be run over by a dairy truck next week trying to rescue a Muggle girl from an enchanted tricycle. I take it back."

"What? You can't do that!" Harry exclaimed.

"Ask me again in another thirty years, then," Severus smirked.

Harry's eyes widened, then flared with all the warmth and heat of the deep summer night, distilled into emerald. "I'll do that. It's a promise, Severus."