It was Saturday, brilliantly blue skies in crisp autumn air. Harry loved this time of year.
Harry's morning run had been oddly quiet, to the point where he'd been jumping at squirrels and other minor nuisances. Snape hadn't made an appearance, and that almost troubled Harry, before he resolved to give the man at least a day before he started worrying. For all Harry Potter knew, Snape was out gathering Christmas Presents - the thought almost made Harry chuckle, though he quelched the impulse, knowing that if he did start laughing, of course that'd be the point where Snape would show up.
Harry thought he'd have time to slip through the Hogwarts Entrance Hall, and head upstairs to get a shower.
Unfortunately, Real Life had other ideas. Draco Malfoy was in the Entrance Hall, holding court with dozens of girls - each of which he was making smile and blush prettily. There's one that won't have any trouble getting Someone for the ball. Harry thought, jealous at the effortlessness with which Malfoy was handling all the girls. From the looks of it, Malfoy hadn't even told one "no" yet! Harry wished he was that good around girls. Or even as smooth as Seamus, who always seemed to develop someone to snog during any Gryffindor party.
After his early morning shower, Harry headed straight for the Room on the 7th Floor.
He didn't have the same expectations as the last Order Meeting. Today, though, it truly didn't matter. All he wanted was some peace and quiet; which was why he was early.
Not that that seemed to have helped.
Snape and Moody were squaring off (the table had reshaped itself into a cloverleaf, and they were standing opposite, their wands nearly at each other's throats.
Harry hadn't quite gotten the start of the argument, but by this point, Moody was yelling, "I demand an explanation!"
Snape was sneering back, his temper nearly visibly writhing under his skin. Harry found himself wondering if that meant Snape was just fakin'. If so, it was a rather impressive display of oil heated nearly to flashpoint. "I don't owe you anything, Alastor," Snape's voice cut through the light crowd.
"There was a death eater meeting last evening," Alastor Moody said, "Where were you?"
"Do you want the truth or the alibi?" Snape said with a pronounced sneer, picking his words as if he was picking his teeth. Somewhere in the last few seconds, Snape'd reined in his temper.
"How about both?" Moody snarled.
"There was a Death Eater meeting, which I was seen to attend. There was also a rather notable discussion of the properties of the Feral Mugwort in Wizarding London. I was also present." Snape said, leaving Harry with the odd question of which was the alibi?
"And your results?" Moody asked.
"Will be told at the meeting, and not before." Snape said, standing at full height suddenly and looking down his nose at Moody.
At that moment, Tonks walked in, stumbling over Harry's feet (and he'd sworn they were under the table like good dogs*).
*Students of history will recall that dogs is a slang for feet. Aunt Petunia liked her historical dramas, and I rather think she'd like the Great Gatsby. While not understanding it, of course.
[a/n: Order Meetings are about as planned as anything else the Light Side does. Does Dumbledore really look like he has a clue about now? I assure you, he does not.
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This chapter also features your first view of Draco Malfoy getting mobbed by girls. He's dealing better than Potter is... or is he?]