Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fred and George wandered over.

Fred and George wandered over.

‘I haven't even got the heart to take the mickey out of him,’ said Fred, looking over at Ron's crumpled figure. ‘Mind you ... when he missed the fourteenth—’

He made wild motions with his arms as though doing an upright doggy-paddle.

‘—well, I'll save it for parties, eh?’

Ron dragged himself up to bed shortly after this. Out of respect for his feelings, Harry waited a while before going up to the dormitory himself, so that Ron could pretend to be asleep if he wanted to. Sure enough, when Harry

finally entered the room Ron was snoring a little too loudly to be entirely plausible.

Harry got into bed, thinking about the match. It had been immensely frustrating watching from the sidelines. He was quite impressed by Ginny's performance but he knew if he had been playing he could have caught the Snitch

sooner ... there had been a moment when it had been fluttering near Kirke's ankle; if Ginny hadn't hesitated, she might have been able to scrape a win for Gryffindor.

Umbridge had been sitting a few rows below Harry and Hermione. Once or twice she had turned squatly in her seat to look at him, her wide toad's mouth stretched in what he thought had been a gloating smile. The memory of

it made him feel hot with anger as he lay there in the dark. After a few minutes, however, he remembered that he was supposed to be emptying his mind of all emotion before he slept, as Snape kept instructing him at the end

of every Occlumency lesson.

He tried for a moment or two, but the thought of Snape on top of memories of Umbridge merely increased his sense of grumbling resentment and he found himself focusing instead on how much he loathed the pair of them.

Slowly, Ron's snores died away to be replaced by the sound of deep, slow breathing. It took Harry much longer to get to sleep; his body was tired, but it took his brain a long time to close down.

He dreamed that Neville and Professor Sprout were waltzing around the Room of Requirement while Professor McGonagall played the bagpipes. He watched them happily for a while, then decided to go and find the other

members of the DA.

But when he left the room he found himself facing, not the tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy, but a torch burning in its bracket on a stone wall. He turned his head slowly to the left. There, at the far end of the windowless

passage, was a plain, black door.

He walked towards it with a sense of mounting excitement. He had the strangest feeling that this time he was going to get lucky at last, and find the way to open it ... he was feet from it, and saw with a leap of excitement that

there was a glowing strip of faint blue light down the right-hand side ... the door was ajar ... he stretched out his hand to push it wide and—

Ron gave a loud, rasping, genuine snore and Harry awoke abruptly with his right hand stretched in front of him in the darkness, to open a door that was hundreds of miles away. He let it fall with a feeling of mingled

disappointment and guilt. He knew he should not have seen the door, but at the same time felt so consumed with curiosity about what was behind it that he could not help feeling annoyed with Ron ... if only he could have

saved his snore for just another minute.
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