'You can't come down here!' Ginny was calling to the crowd. 'No, sorry, you're going to have to go round by the swivelling staircase, someone's let off Garrotting Gas just along here - '
'Get over here,' muttered Hermione, tugging at Harry's wrist and pulling him back into a recess where the ugly stone head of a medieval wizard stood muttering to itself on a column. 'Are - are you sure you're OK, Harry? You're still very pale.'
'I'm not going . . . I don't need the hospital wing . . . I don't want . . .'
'Right, well, even if we do all of that, I don't think we're going to be able to bank on more than five minutes,' said Hermione, looking relieved that Harry seemed to have accepted the plan, 'not with Filch and the wretched Inquisitorial Squad floating around.'
He closed his eyes again, trying to see them, trying to remember . . . the Confederation had met for the first time in France, yes, he had written that already . . .
Harry swore and turned away. The very last thing he wanted now was a conversation with Luna Lovegood.
I'm trying to say - Voldemort knows you, Harry! He took Ginny down into the Chamber of Secrets to lure you there, it's the kind of thing he does, he knows you're the - the sort of person who'd go to Sirius's aid! What if he's just trying to get you into the Department of Myst - ?'
Umbridge straightened up, looking exultant.
'How much further?' demanded Umbridge angrily from behind him.
'You took my last bottle to interrogate Potter,' he said, surveying her coolly through his greasy curtains of black hair. 'Surely you did not use it all? I told you that three drops would be sufficient.'
Voldemort's got Sirius in the Department of Mysteries, he thought desperately. Voldemorts got Sirius - '
'Good, good,' said Umbridge, watching Ginny's struggles. 'Well, it looks as though Hogwarts will shortly be a Weasley-free zone, doesn't it?'
'But this is just - just so unlikely!' said Hermione desperately. 'Harry, how on earth could Voldemort have got hold of Sirius when he's been in Grimmauld Place all the time?'
'Sirius?' he shouted. 'Sirius, are you there?'
Kreacher merely cackled.
'Take it for me . . . lift it down, now . . . I cannot touch it . . . but you can . . .'
'He's not there, Hermione!'
'Who are you?' said a voice.