Harry. His mouth was very dry
It’s probably full of Nargles, though.
What are Nargles?
No idea, said Harry. She had 100moved closer. His brain seemed to have been Stunned. You’d have to ask Loony. Luna, I mean.
Cho made a funny noise halfway between a sob and a laugh. She was even nearer to him101 now. He could have counted the freckles on her nose.
I really like you, Harry.
He could not think. A tingling sensation was spreading through him, paralysing his arms,102 legs and brain.
She was much too close. He could see every tear clinging to her eyelashes …
And moments later
The silver-ringleted witch had reappeared in her picture, too; she sank, coughing, into her armchair and said, Yes, they’ve taken him to St. Mungo’s, Dumbledore … they carried him 300past my portrait … he looks bad …
Thank you, said Dumbledore. He looked round at Professor McGonagall.
Minerva, I need you to go and 301wake the other Weasley children.
Of course …
Professor McGonagall got up and moved swiftly to the door. Harry cast a sideways glance at Ron, who was looking terrified.
And Dumbledore what about Molly?302 said Professor McGonagall, pausing at the door.
That will be a job for Fawkes when he has finished
Shall I persuade him, Dumbledore?
called a gimlet-eyed witch, raising an unusually thick wand that looked not unlike a birch rod.
Oh, very well, said the wizard called Phineas, eyeing the wand with mild apprehension,200 though he may well have destroyed my picture by now, he’s done away with most of the family
Sirius knows not to destroy your portrait, said Dumbledore, and Harry realised immediately where he had heard Phineas’s voice before: issuing from the apparently empty frame in his bedroom 201in Grimmauld Place. You are to give him the message that Arthur Weasley has been gravely injured and that his wife, children and Harry Potter will be arriving at his house shortly. Do you understand?
Arthur Weasley, injured, wife and202 children and Harry Potter coming to stay, repeated Phineas in a bored voice. Yes, yes … very well …
I know it must be horrible for
Mopping her eyes on her sleeve again. Me mentioning Cedric, when you saw him die … I suppose you just want to forget about it?
Harry did not say anything to this;100 it was quite true, but he felt heartless saying it.
You’re a r-really good teacher, you know, said Cho, with a watery smile. I’ve never101 been able to Stun anything before.
Thanks, said Harry awkwardly.
They looked at each other for a long moment. Harry felt a burning desire to run from the room and, at the same time, a complete inability to102 move his feet.
Mistletoe, said Cho quietly, pointing at the ceiling over his head.
The middle of that maze
But if Voldemort really wants to kill you, you don’t stand a chance.
She hiccoughed at the sound of100 Voldemort’s name, but stared at Harry without flinching.
You survived when you were just a baby, she said quietly.
Yeah, well, said Harry wearily, moving towards the door, I dunno why, nor does 101anyone else, so it’s nothing to be proud of.
Oh, don’t go! said Cho, sounding tearful again. I’m really sorry to get all102 upset like this … I didn’t mean to …
She hiccoughed again. She was very pretty even when her eyes were red and puffy. Harry felt thoroughly miserable. He’d have been so pleased with just a Merry Christmas’.
Harry wanted to ask
What the strange silver instrument was for, but before he could do so, there was a shout from the top of the wall to their right; the wizard called Everard had reappeared in his portrait.,300 panting slightly.
What news? said Dumbledore at once.
I yelled until someone came running, said the wizard, who was mopping his brow on the curtain behind him, said I’d heard something moving downstairsthey weren’t sure whether to believe 301me but went down to checkyou know there are no portraits down there to watch from. Anyway, they carried him up a few minutes later. He doesn’t look good, he’s covered in blood, I ran along to Elfrida Cragg’s portrait to get a good view as they left
Good, said Dumbledore as Ron302 made a convulsive movement. I take it Dilys will have seen him arrive, then
He sloped away into
The frame of the portrait and disappeared from view at the very moment the study door opened again. Fred, George and Ginny were200 ushered inside by Professor McGonagall, all three of them looking dishevelled and shocked, still in their night things.
Harrywhat’s going on? asked Ginny, who looked frightened. Professor201 McGonagall says you saw Dad get hurt
Your father has been injured in the course of his work for the Order of the Phoenix, said Dumbledore, before Harry could speak. He has been taken to St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. I am sending you back to 202Sirius’s house, which is much more convenient for the hospital than The Burrow. You will meet your mother there.
How’re we going? asked Fred, looking shaken. Floo powder?
No, said Dumbledore, Floo powder is not safe at the moment, the Network is being watched.
He turned and saw
Cho standing in the middle of the room, tears pouring down her face.
He didn’t know what to do. 100She was simply standing there, crying silently.
What’s up? he said, feebly.
She shook her head and wiped her eyes on her sleeve.
I’msorry, she said thickly. 101I 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.
Harry’s heart sank right back past its usual spot and settled somewhere around his navel. He ought to have known. She wanted to talk about102 Cedric.
He did know this stuff, Harry said heavily. He was really good at it, or he could never have got
You’re getting really good,
Beaming around at them. When we get back from the holidays we can start doing some of the big stuffmaybe even Patronuses.
There was a murmur of excitement.100 The room began to clear in the usual twos and threes; most people wished Harry a Happy Christmas as they went. Feeling cheerful, he collected up the cushions with Ron and Hermione and stacked them neatly away. Ron and Hermione left before he did; he hung back a little, because Cho was still there and he was hoping 101to receive a Merry Christmas from her.
No, you go on, he heard her say to her friend Marietta and his heart gave a jolt that seemed to take it into the region of his Adam’s 102apple.
He pretended to be straightening the cushion pile. He was quite sure they were alone now and waited for her to speak. Instead, he heard a hearty sniff.
The tiny puffs became a steady
Stream of smoke that thickened and coiled in the air … a serpent’s head grew out of the end of it, opening its mouth wide. Harry wondered 300whether the instrument was confirming his story: he looked eagerly at Dumbledore for a sign that he was right, but Dumbledore did not look up.
Naturally, naturally, murmured Dumbledore apparently to himself, still observing the stream of smoke without the slightest sign 301of surprise. But in essence divided?
Harry could make neither head nor tail of this question. The smoke serpent, however, split itself instantly into two snakes, both coiling and undulating in the dark air. With a look of grim satisfaction, Dumbledore gave the instrument another gentle tap with his wand: the clinking noise slowed 302and died and the smoke serpents grew faint, became a formless haze and vanished.
Dumbledore replaced the instrument on its spindly little table. Harry saw many of the old headmasters in the portraits follow him with their eyes, then, realising that Harry was watching them, hastily pretend to be sleeping Fruit Tree