Nobody ever asked my birthday

The Devil's Own Laughter

Remus drifted into the meeting like a wolf on a shaggy moor - gray blending in with the brown gorse. Snape let his eyes pass over Remus - or at least that's what Harry assumed he was doing, leaning in the shadows like that. Vance and Shacklebolt arrived nearly simultaneously, moving towards where Snape was - until his venomous voice diverted them to less quarrelsome lodging. Minerva McGonagall strode in, tartan flashing from within her dark robes, and scanned the room. Her eyes met Snape's, and she nodded slightly, swiftly striding around the table to wind up in a chair beside Snape.

McGonagall said, "Five galleons that Potter beats your whole team."

Snape sniffed back, "You don't have Potter this year, Minerva. Are your wits leaving you faster than your cat hairs?"

McGonagall said, "Apparently. Your robe's still black after all."

Snape said, "How is your new seeker this year? The rumor I heard had her losing the snitch on the playing field."

McGonagall laughed, a hard one that wasn't amused, "Stuff and nonsense. You know that's as impossible as anything."

Snape said, "With a Weasley, who can tell?"

McGonagall continued, "Will Malfoy bid the snitch come to his hand, with all those lordly manners?"

Snape sneered, "Have you not noticed those falling away? His tutors did a substandard job to begin with."

McGonagall said, "In another year, he may even be able to pass for human!"

Snape said, "How long did it take for you to manage that one, Felicity?"

McGonagall continued, "Two years after the transformation. I've also developed a fascination with killing snakes and skinning them."

Snape smirked, "You didn't have that before the transformation?"

As the quarreling continued, Harry slid out of the door he'd been inside - he didn't escape Hermione's "Oh! Harry, there you are! I was trying to remind you of the meeting, but... you made it!" Harry sent her a grateful smile, as he grabbed a seat across from Snape, and then did his best to not look at the man. Snape had been trying to hide, Harry didn't want to draw more attention to him.

Mad-Eye Moody came in by throwing open the door so loud it boomed. This had the effect of silencing all conversation except whatever Nonsensical Quarrel was going on between Snape and McGonagall. Moody took a scan around the room, his wand drawn, and then he smiled. Unlike Snape, who rarely showed even devilish delight, Moody's smile was craggy, and often seen. It was a smile of victory, most often.

Moody came over, grabbing the seat beside Harry. Harry's eyes flicked over at Moody, Don't look at him. What's he doing over here?

Moody didn't pay much heed to Harry's quandary. Instead, he leaned over, and said in Harry's ear, "What the hell did you do to Snape, there?"

Caught, Harry looked over at Snape, who was sending a deathglare at Moody. Or Harry. Likelier Harry. Awkwardly, Harry shrugged, unwilling to explain to Alastor Moody, paranoiac in chief, exactly what had pissed Snape off so much. Actually, Harry wasn't sure he could explain it to Moody, who'd probably say cattily, Isn't Snape friends with the Malfoys?

Moody responded to Harry's shrug, "You have him madder than a nest of Nagas!" Harry was honestly rather horrified to see how ... approving ... Moody was of this new development. "Why I haven't seen him this mad since Black-!"

Harry turned slightly to Moody, asking a sudden question, "How'd you get him to cool off?"

Moody roared a laugh, which got an even deadlier death glare out of Snape, as Moody clapped Harry on the back, hard. "Don't suppose I rightly know. I like him better mad, you know? Never had call to try calming him down."

Great, just great, Harry thinks, I'm sitting by the crazy madman who wants Snape this nettled-angry. And thinking about how mad Snape was at him, was making Harry's stomach twist in knots. Hope I don't vomit in the meeting.

[a/n: The quarrel between McGonagal and Snape needs to be read as: She is sitting on a chair, craning her neck to talk with him. He is looming over her shoulder, sneering often.

Moody's comments are just grinding in Harry's guilt.

How'd I do? Give me a comment, or write a review!]