The day was Sunday, November 3rd, and soon the three great powers of their school year, Harry Potter, Draco Malfoy, and Hermione Granger, would begin their struggle for supreme dominance.
(Harry was slightly annoyed by the way the Boy-Who-Lived had been demoted from supreme dominance to one of three equal rivals just by entering the contest, but he expected to get it back soon.)
The battleground was a section of non-Forbidden forest, dense with trees, because Professor Quirrell thought that being able to see all the enemy forces was too boring even for your very first battle.
All the students who were not actually in a first-year army were camped out nearby and watching on screens that Professor Quirrell had set up. Except for three Gryffindors in their fourth year, who were currently sick and confined to healer's beds by Madam Pomfrey. Aside from that, everyone was there.
The students were dressed, not in their ordinary school robes, but in Muggle camouflage uniforms that Professor Quirrell had obtained somewhere and supplied in sufficient quantity and variety to fit everyone. It wasn't that students would have worried about stains and rips, that was what Charms were for. But as Professor Quirrell had explained to the surprised wizardborns, nice dignified clothing was not efficient for hiding in forests or dodging around trees.
And on each uniform's breast, a patch bearing the name and insignia of your army. A small patch. If you wanted your soldiers to wear, say, colored ribbons so that they could identify each other at a distance, and risk the enemy getting their hands on the ribbons, that was all up to you.
Harry had tried to get the name Dragon Army.
Draco had pitched a fit and said that would confuse everyone completely.
Professor Quirrell had ruled that Draco could lay prior claim to the name, if he wished.
So now Harry was fighting Dragon Army.
This probably wasn't a good sign.
For their insignia, instead of the too-obvious dragon's head breathing fire, Draco had elected to simply go with the fire. Elegant, understated, deadly:
This is what's left after we've passed. Very Malfoy.
Harry, after considering alternate choices such as the 501st Provisional Battalion and Harry's Minions o' Doom, had decided that his army would be known by the simple and dignified appellation of the Chaos Legion.
Their insignia was a hand poised with fingers ready to snap.
universally agreed that this wasn't a good sign.
Harry had earnestly advised Hermione that the young boys serving under her were probably nervous about her being a girl with a reputation for being nice, and that she should pick something scary that would reassure them of her toughness and make them proud to be part of her army, like the Blood Commandos or something.
Hermione had named her army the Sunshine Regiment.
Their insignia was a smiley face.
And in ten minutes, they would be at war.
~Excerpt from Chapter 30, Working in Groups Part I, of "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality"
"Petunia married a professor, and Harry grew up reading science and science fiction. Then came the Hogwarts letter... "
The description doesn't cover the half of it. This is the most brilliant piece of Alternate Universe fanfiction I have ever read. Since any paltry rambling I do about it's greatness is insuffiant, go directly to the source and admire for yourself:
text-only mirror: [link]
tvtropes page: [link]
Characters (c) J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality (c) Less Wrong, aka Eliezer Yudkowsky