The Terrible Weasley Twins entered next, nearly the last people to arrive. They sat beside Harry, and started making faces at him. This was being normal tomfoolery from the twins, so Harry didn't pay it much heed. However, he noticed - almost in passing - Snape's eyes losing a bit of that death glare. Did he not want Harry talking to Moody? Wut was that? Was he concerned, that Harry might learn something? Other than Moody's deliberate noninterference with the Black/Snape verbal donnybrooks. Which, seemed obvious, now that Harry thought about it. Even when they'd been reduced to listening at the door of Order Meetings, they'd always been able to hear Black and Snape standing off.
Harry suppressed a loud laugh that wanted to emerge from his throat, as the far twin decided mimicking Snape's current glare (complete with batwings flapping around his ears) would be the best use of time and magic.
Mrs. Figg, still smelling of cats, was the last through the door. She had so many pages of papers in a box... And every single one of them had cat hairs attached. Harry had known she was some sort of lawyer (paralegal?) when he'd been seven and had seen her working, but it was all too easy to forget that the Old Cat Lady actually had a competent head on her shoulders.
"Order!" Dumbledore belted - it was easy to forget that, when he tried, Albus Dumbledore could boom his voice in a manner that Snape never quite managed. Snape was one for the quiet, leather and shadow voice that commanded attention in the classroom. Dumbledore's general tones didn't command respect, they merely asked for it. So everyone (including the twins) bounced at the noise, falling silent as there were thumps on the seats.
Molly Weasley took the floor, more reporting on gossip than on anything substantive. Harry knew it was important, but really didn't need to know how many cats Mrs. Frobisher had acquired, or really why Mr. Silv needed more clothespins. Harry sent a quick, darting glance at Snape, who'd crossed his arms, leaning back against the corner of the room (that Harry would insist, if asked, that Snape had created simply for that purpose alone). Snape looked surprisingly like a Raven, with one beady black eye trained on Molly, as if she might drop something shiny entirely by accident. Or, if one were of a more morbid bent, Snape looked like death itself, newly crawled out of a grave. He wasn't leaning on that wall by accident.
Come to think, Harry thought, by now having nearly discarded paying attention to Molly, Snape leaned up against things more than anyone else Harry'd ever seen, and that included Draco Malfoy, who'd practically turned leaning into an artform! I wonder if he did that before his first bout of the Cruciatus Curse, Harry thought grimly. Probably not. Snape's 'predisposition' to leaning meant that nobody marked it as weakness.
Tonks' stories about the Aurors, and their rumors, were a merry lot of fun, but not much information, as far as Harry could tell. Snape sent her a glare when she told a story about mixing up two potions and nearly causing an explosion instead of healing her superior. I bet she was just as clumsy in class as she was at Grimmauld.
Art Weasley's report was more gossip, interspersed with Muggle digressions, "Did you know that eklitricy comes in two forms? One straight and one that rhymes?" Harry was honestly confused as to why nobody'd bothered to interrupt. Didn't anyone here have something important to get back to?
Mrs. Figg's report was dry and bookish, but at least she understood the value of conciseness. It covered her inspections of various children born as the seventh month dies.
By the end, Snape jeered and sneered, "Albus, surely you can't think this a good use of resources..."
Albus gave that soft grin that said he really, really did. "Of course it's imperative," Albus said, "We must find the baby mentioned in the prophecy..."
Snape, looking unflappable, said, "Or?"
Albus continued, implacably, "Or Tom wins."
Snape sneered, "We may not be able to defeat him without the Promised One, but do not mistake that for letting him win." Snape raked his bright gaze, confident, controlled and perfectly furious at the entire room. He then crossed and uncrossed his arms, which really did look a little like a bat's wings flapping - if, that is you didn't notice his fists.
Snape's own report, this time, was as entertaining as his discourses on The Art of War* - Pieces seemed to leap to life - Snape's discussion on the goings-on of Lucius Malfoy alone took over half an hour, and that was with Snape confessing dryly that he still hadn't much of a clue what Lucius had been doing. Snape had further discussion of the Dark Lord's priorities. Alarmingly, Snape had been asked to detail Hogwarts' defenses. Harry exchanged a look with Hermione on that.
"Traitor, crawl back to your hole!" Moody jeered.
Snape turned, leaning over the table - Moody tensed, ready to leap to his feet with wand in hand. He said coldly, "They say it takes a traitor to know one."
Moody snorted, "Ain't no doubt of my loyalties."
Snape looked smug, "As you say, I suppose I wouldn't know either." With that scrap of wry humor, Snape swooped out of the room with a flourish.
*No, harry's not read the book. Snape capitalizes while speaking, though.
[a/n: Unfortunately, Hary's still to preoccupied with Mad Snape, Angry Snape, to actually be focused on the Important Meeting.
Never fear, my dear readers! He will learn... eventually.
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