'Appears . . . to . . . have . . . poor . . . short . . . term . . . memory,' muttered Umbridge, loudly enough for everyone to hear her. Draco Malfoy looked as though Christmas had come a month early; Hermione, on the other hand, had turned scarlet with suppressed rage.
Harry groaned. The Forbidden Forest was teeming with the kind of creatures most likely to get Hagrid the sack. 'What's he keeping in there? Did he say?' he asked.
'Well . . . I don't know,' said Harry, rather angrily - what did it matter? 'Inside my head, I suppose - '
'I really like you, Harry.'
'I'm - sorry,' she said thickly. 'I suppose . . . it's just . . . learning all this stuff . . . it just makes me . . . wonder whether . . . if he'd known it all . . . he'd still be alive.'
'And you're sure they're trained, are you?' said Malfoy, the panic in his voice even more pronounced. 'Only it wouldn't be the first time you'd brought wild stuff to class, would it?'
'No!' said Harry angrily; would none of them understand? 'I was having a dream at first about something completely different, something stupid . . . and then this interrupted it. It was real, I didn't imagine it. Mr Weasley was asleep on the floor and he was attacked by a gigantic snake, there was a load of blood, he collapsed, someone's got to find out where he is . . .'
'And what do you think of them?' she said, waving her stubby hand at the horses, who by now had stripped a great deal of the carcass down to bone.
You and Fred and George,' she said impatiently. 'We've got another Seeker!'
'You'd think a bit of kissing would cheer her up,' said Ron, grinning.
'No,' said Harry, 'it was Dobby the house-elf.'
'Harry, mate,' said Ron uncertainly, 'you . . . you were just dreaming
'Well, obviously, she's feeling very sad, because of Cedric dying. Then I expect she's feeling confused because she liked Cedric and now she likes Harry, and she can't work out who she likes best. Then she'll be feeling guilty, thinking it's an insult to Cedric's memory to be kissing Harry at all, and she'll be worrying about what everyone else might say about her if she starts going out with Harry. And she probably can't work out what her feelings towards Harry are, anyway, because he was the one who was with Cedric when Cedric died, so that's all very mixed up and painful. Oh, and she's afraid she's going to be thrown off the Ravenclaw Quidditch team because she's been flying so badly.'
'Do you?' Harry asked her quietly.
His body felt smooth, powerful and flexible. He was gliding between shining metal bars, across dark, cold stone . . . he was flat against the floor, sliding along on his belly . . . it was dark, yet he could see objects around him shimmering in strange, vibrant colours . . . he was turning his head . . . at first glance the corridor was empty . . . but no . . . a man was sitting on the floor ahead, his chin drooping on to his chest, his outline gleaming in the dark . . .
'Who're you writing the novel to, anyway?' Ron asked Hermione, trying to read the bit of parchment now trailing on the floor. Hermione hitched it up out of sight.
'Mistletoe,' said Cho quietly, pointing at the ceiling over his head.
Harry had only just managed to get the last of them down before the door creaked open and Luna Lovegood entered, looking as dreamy as usual.