J.K.Rwling >> Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix (page 49)

'Silencio!' said Hermione hastily, pointing her wand at Harry's frog, which deflated silently before them. 'Well, he mustn't do it again, that's all. I just don't know how we're going to let him know. We can't send him an owl.'

'I don't reckon he'll risk it again,' said Ron. 'He's not stupid, he knows she nearly got him. Silencio.'

The large and ugly raven in front of him let out a derisive caw.

'Silencio. SILENCIO!'

The raven cawed more loudly.

'Its the way you're moving your wand,' said Hermione, watching Ron critically, 'you don't want to wave it, it's more a sharp jab.'

'Ravens are harder than frogs,' said Ron through clenched teeth.

'Fine, let's swap,' said Hermione, seizing Rons raven and replacing it with her own fat bullfrog. 'Silencio!' The raven continued to open and close its sharp beak, but no sound came out.

'Very good, Miss Granger!' said Professor Flitwick's squeaky little voice, making Harry, Ron and Hermione all jump. 'Now, let me see you try, Mr Weasley.'

'Wha-? Oh - oh, right,' said Ron, very flustered. 'Er - silencio!'

He jabbed at the bullfrog so hard he poked it in the eye: the frog gave a deafening croak and leapt off the desk.

It came as no surprise to any of them that Harry and Ron were given additional practice of the Silencing Charm for homework.

They were allowed to remain inside over break due to the downpour outside. They found seats in a noisy and overcrowded classroom on the first floor in which Peeves was floating dreamily up near the chandelier, occasionally blowing an ink pellet at the top of somebody's head. They had barely sat down when Angelina came struggling towards them through the groups of gossiping students.

'I've got permission!' she said. To re-form the Quidditch team!'

'Excellent!' said Ron and Harry together.

'Yeah,' said Angelina, beaming. 'I went to McGonagall and I think she might have appealed to Dumbledore. Anyway, Umbridge had to give in. Ha! So I want you down at the pitch at seven o'clock tonight, all right, because we've got to make up time. You realise we're only three weeks away from our first match?'

She squeezed away from them, narrowly dodged an ink pellet from Peeves, which hit a nearby first-year instead, and vanished from sight.

Ron's smile slipped slightly as he looked out of the window, which was now opaque with hammering rain.

'Hope this clears up. What's up with you, Hermione?'

She, too, was gazing at the window, but not as though she really saw it. Her eyes were unfocused and there was a frown on her face.

'Just thinking:' she said, still frowning at the rain-washed window.

'About Siri- Snuffles?' said Harry.

'No: not exactly:' said Hermione slowly. 'More: wondering: I suppose we're doing the right thing: I think: aren't we?'

Harry and Ron looked at each other.

'Well, that clears that up,' said Ron. 'It would've been really annoying if you hadn't explained yourself properly.'

Hermione looked at him as though she had only just realised he was there.

'I was just wondering,' she said, her voice stronger now, 'whether we're doing the right thing, starting this Defence Against the Dark Arts group.'

'What?' said Harry and Ron together.

'Hermione, it was your idea in the first place!' said Ron indignantly.

'I know,' said Hermione, twisting her fingers together. 'But after talking to Snuffles:'

'But he's all for it,' said Harry.

'Yes,' said Hermione, staring at the window again. 'Yes, that's what made me think maybe it wasn't a good idea after all:'

Peeves floated over them on his stomach, peashooter at the ready; automatically all three of them lifted their bags to cover their heads until he had passed.

'Let's get this straight,' said Harry angrily, as they put their bags back on the floor, 'Sirius agrees with us, so you don't think we should do it any more?'

Hermione looked tense and rather miserable. Now staring at her own hands, she said, 'Do you honestly trust his judgement?'

'Yes, I do!' said Harry at once. 'He's always given us great advice!'

An ink pellet whizzed past them, striking Katie Bell squarely in the ear. Hermione watched Katie leap to her feet and start throwing things at Peeves; it was a few moments before Hermione spoke again and it sounded as though she was choosing her words very carefully.

'You don't think he has become: sort of: reckless: since he's been cooped up in Grimmauld Place? You don't think he's: kind of: living through us?'

'What d'you mean, "living through us"?' Harry retorted.

'I mean: well, I think he'd love to be forming secret Defence societies right under the nose of someone from the Ministry: I think he's really frustrated at how little he can do where he is: so I think he's keen to kind of: egg us on.'

Ron looked utterly perplexed.

'Sirius is right,' he said, 'you do sound just like my mother.'

Hermione bit her lip and did not answer. The bell rang just as Peeves swooped down on Katie and emptied an entire ink bottle over her head.

* * *

The weather did not improve as the day wore on, so that at seven o'clock that evening, when Harry and Ron went down to the Quidditch pitch for practice, they were soaked through within minutes, their feet slipping and sliding on the sodden grass. The sky was a deep, thundery grey and it was a relief to gain the warmth and light of the changing rooms, even if they knew the respite was only temporary. They found Fred and George debating whether to use one of their own Skiving Snackboxes to get out of flying.

': but I bet she'd know what we'd done,' Fred said out of the corner of his mouth. 'If only I hadn't offered to sell her some Puking Pastilles yesterday.'

'We could try the Fever Fudge,' George muttered, 'no one's seen that yet -'

'Does it work?' enquired Ron hopefully, as the hammering of rain on the roof intensified and wind howled around the building.

'Well, yeah,' said Fred, 'your temperature'll go right up.'

'But you get these massive pus-filled boils, too,' said George, 'and we haven't worked out how to get rid of them yet.'

'I can't see any boils,' said Ron, staring at the twins.

'No, well, you wouldn't,' said Fred darkly, 'they're not in a place we generally display to the public.'

'But they make sitting on a broom a right pain in the -'

'All right, everyone, listen up,' said Angelina loudly, emerging from the Captain's office. 'I know it's not ideal weather, but there's a chance we'll be playing Slytherin in conditions like this so it's a good idea to work out how we're going to cope with them. Harry, didn't you do something to your glasses to stop the rain fogging them up when we played Hufflepuff in that storm?'

'Hermione did it,' said Harry. He pulled out his wand, tapped his glasses and said, 'Impervius!'

'I think we all ought to try that,' said Angelina. 'If we could just keep the rain off our faces it would really help visibility - all together, come on - Impervius! OK. Let's go.'

They all stowed their wands back in the inside pockets of their robes, shouldered their brooms and followed Angelina out of the changing rooms.

They squelched through the deepening mud to the middle of the pitch; visibility was still very poor even with the Impervius Charm; light was fading fast and curtains of rain were sweeping the grounds.

'All right, on my whistle,' shouted Angelina.

Harry kicked off from the ground, spraying mud in all directions, and shot upwards, the wind pulling him slightly off course.

He had no idea how he was going to see the Snitch in this weather; he was having enough difficulty seeing the one Bludger with which they were practising; a minute into the practice it almost unseated him and he had to use the Sloth Grip Roll to avoid it. Unfortunately, Angelina did not see this. In fact, she did not appear to be able to see anything; none of them had a clue what the others were doing. The wind was picking up; even at a distance Harry could hear the swishing, pounding sounds of the rain pummelling the surface of the lake.

Angelina kept them at it for nearly an hour before conceding defeat. She led her sodden and disgruntled team back into the changing rooms, insisting that the practice had not been a waste of time, though without any real conviction in her voice. Fred and George were looking particularly annoyed; both were bandy-legged and winced with every movement. Harry could hear them complaining in low voices as he towelled his hair dry.

'I think a few of mine have ruptured,' said Fred in a hollow voice.

'Mine haven't,' said George, through clenched teeth, 'they're throbbing like mad: feel bigger if anything.'

'OUCH!' said Harry.

He pressed the towel to his face, his eyes screwed tight with pain. The scar on his forehead had seared again, more painfully than it had in weeks.

'What's up?' said several voices.

Harry emerged from behind his towel; the changing room was blurred because he was not wearing his glasses, but he could still tell that everyone's face was turned towards him.

'Nothing,' he muttered, 'I - poked myself in the eye, that's all.'

But he gave Ron a significant look and the two of them hung back as the rest of the team filed back outside, muffled in their cloaks, their hats pulled low over their ears.

'What happened?' said Ron, the moment Alicia had disappeared through the door. 'Was it your scar?'

Harry nodded.

'But:' looking scared, Ron strode across to the window and stared out into the rain, 'he - he can't be near us now, can he?'

'No,' Harry muttered, sinking on to a bench and rubbing his forehead. 'He's probably miles away. It hurt because: he's: angry.'

Harry had not meant to say that at all, and heard the words as though a stranger had spoken them - yet knew at once that they were true. He did not know how he knew it, but he did; Voldemort, wherever he was, whatever he was doing, was in a towering temper.

'Did you see him?' said Ron, looking horrified. 'Did you: get a vision, or something?'

Harry sat quite still, staring at his feet, allowing his mind and his memory to relax in the aftermath of the pain.

A confused tangle of shapes, a howling rush of voices:

'He wants something done, and it's not happening fast enough,' he said.

Again, he felt surprised to hear the words coming out of his mouth, and yet was quite certain they were true.

'But: how do you know?' said Ron.

Harry shook his head and covered his eyes with his hands, pressing down upon them with his palms. Little stars erupted in them. He felt Ron sit down on the bench beside him and knew Ron was staring at him.

'Is this what it was about last time?' said Ron in a hushed voice. 'When your scar hurt in Umbridge's office? You-Know-Who was angry?'

Harry shook his head.

'What is it, then?'

Harry was thinking himself back. He had been looking into Umbridge's face: his scar had hurt: and he had had that odd feeling in his stomach: a strange, leaping feeling: a happy feeling: but of course, he had not recognised it for what it was, as he had been feeling so miserable himself:

'Last time, it was because he was pleased,' he said. 'Really pleased. He thought: something good was going to happen. And the night before we came back to Hogwarts:' he thought back to the moment when his scar had hurt so badly in his and Ron's bedroom in Grimmauld Place: 'he was furious'

He looked round at Ron, who was gaping at him.

'You could take over from Trelawney, mate,' he said in an awed voice.

'I'm not making prophecies,' said Harry.

'No, you know what you're doing?' Ron said, sounding both scared and impressed. 'Harry, you're reading You-Know-Who's mind!'

'No,' said Harry, shaking his head. 'It's more like: his mood, I suppose. I'm just getting flashes of what mood he's in. Dumbledore said something like this was happening last year. He said that when Voldemort was near me, or when he was feeling hatred, I could tell. Well, now I'm feeling it when he's pleased, too:"

There was a pause. The wind and rain lashed at the building.

'You've got to tell someone,' said Ron.

'I told Sirius last time.'

'Well, tell him about this time!'

'Can't, can I?' said Harry grimly. 'Umbridge is watching the owls and the fires, remember?'

'Well then, Dumbledore.'

'I've just told you, he already knows,' said Harry shortly, getting to his feet, taking his cloak off his peg and swinging it around him. There's no point telling him again.'

Ron did up the fastening of his own cloak, watching Harry thoughtfully.

'Dumbledore'd want to know,' he said.

Harry shrugged.

'C'mon: we've still got Silencing Charms to practise.'

They hurried back through the dark grounds, sliding and stumbling up the muddy lawns, not talking. Harry was thinking hard. What was it that Voldemort wanted done that was not happening quickly enough?

Title: Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix
Author: J.K.Rwling
Viewed 388870 times


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