Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 11

It felt odd for Harry Potter to be striding back into Grimmauld Place - the dark building feeling suddenly twice as cramped. He wasn't a minute in before the arguing started. It wasn't Snape's fault - as usual. Moody - of all people! - was boasting about what a solid member of the Order Miss Granger would make. Molly Weasley took exception to this, and started to wail (because she really wasn't arguing) that they weren't ready to be members yet! They were too young!

Harry's patience was fraying with every word of that timeworn argument - what had been the point of training them, if not to let them join? A discrete look up at Snape [a/n: Harry had no idea how much he looked like a dog looking warily at its master] gave Harry the idea that Snape's patience was threadbare. Abruptly, Snape stalked to a corner of the room, waiting for the rest of the trainers and trainees to arrive. Augusta and her grandson came through, each giving the room the gimlet eye before settling down at the table.

As was typical for the order, there was no set placement at the table, and the newfound profusion of young men and women made the whole meeting room even more cramped than usual.

Ten minutes had gone by, and Molly Weasley was still arguing. At last, Lupin and the Twins spilled through the door, still blackened from the floo - or another disaster of an experiment. Harry was in the middle of the room, sitting in a seat cattycorner to Dumbledore, his head on the table and his eyes closed softly. "Look at him, he looks so cute and innocent there!" someone squealed - which would have been fine if it was Gin, but it was Molly, who was determined to mollycoddle them until they graduated, at least. Rather than sitting up and shooting her a glare, Harry considered what he'd have to do in order to target one of the spells he'd learnt this summer towards Molly. Several thoughts came,and he chased them down with a vengeance, before finally thinking how fun it would be to simply, while still laying down, fling a quill at her, spattering her lovely umber dress with ink. Perhaps it might improve the dress, even.

Snape spoke up, in a tone that bristled with danger, "Care for a wager, Mrs. Arthur Weasley?" his soft purr of a voice was stilted with formality. Even so, Molly heard him and quieted down.

It was Arthur, sworn to uphold his ladywife in everything she wanted - or maybe it just seemed that way, who spoke up next. "What's the wager?"

"I propose a demonstration of how well these children have been taught. Should they be successful, they may all join the Order. Should they be unsuccessful, there will be consequences." The last word was uttered darkly, as Snape's gaze seemed, strikingly nonchalantly, to land on Lupin.

"You'll name the scenario, won't you?" Moody asked, his grizzled appearance sharp with the glee for a good fight.

"Urban combat. Capture the flag, if you will, with - Potter, grab me a trophy -" Snape snapped at Harry, who leaped to his feet, finding a "Best Player" trophy (that he rather suspected wasn't about Quiddich), and bringing it back with better decorum. "This as the flag."

"Just one?" Moody asked.

"Indeed. All the members of the Order versus Fred and George." Snape looked at the twins, and then frowned. "Or is it George and then Fred?" Irritably, he said, "It hardly matters. The Weasley twins, in whatever order and name they like." Lupin was trying not to gawk like a ten year old at Snape. Plainly, he'd have bet all his gold in Gringotts that Snape wouldn't have chosen the Weasley twins for this exercise.

"Confident, aren't you?" Tonks said with a grin.

"Will you take the bet?" Snape asked, his voice and face pointing towards Arthur Weasley, but his eyes on Molly and Dumbledore.

With an audible sniff, Molly Weasley said, "Yes!"

Dumbledore laughed a belly laugh, and then said, "This should be interesting."

Snape looked at the twins and said clearly, "Room of Requirement, twenty minutes. Don't be late."

[a/n: It's genuinely a mistake to make Snape lose patience. He's rather fond of the concept of "don't get mad, get even."

Potter and the Twins haven't genuinely tried Snape's patience. Not that they know that, of course - which is rather the point.

Fights and Flashbacks, coming to you soon - but be a dear and write a review!]