Nice day,' he said, gesturing to the windows. His insides seemed to shrivel with embarrassment. The weather. He was talking about the weather . . .
His homework situation, however, was now desperate, and when he returned to the Gryffindor common room he did not, though exhausted, go to bed, but opened his books and began Snape's moonstone essay. It was half past two by the time he had finished it. He knew he had done a poor job, but there was no help for it; unless he had something to give in he would be in detention with Snape next. He then dashed off answers to the questions Professor McGonagall had set them, cobbled together something on the proper handling of Bowtruckles for Professor Grubbly-Plank, and staggered up to bed, where he fell fully clothed on top of the covers and fell asleep immediately.
'Right, I know this says Snuffles on the outside,' he told her, giving her the letter to clasp in her beak and, without knowing exactly why, whispering, 'but it's for Sirius, OK?'
But Ron had grabbed Harry's forearm and pulled the back of Harry's hand up level with his eyes. There was a pause, during which he stared at the words carved into the skin, then, looking sick, he released Harry
Feeling immensely thankful that he had not dawdled in posting off the letter, Harry said, 'I can't, it's gone.'
'I've got all the robes I want,' said Ron 'No,' said Harry. 'Look . . . this little piece here . . ." Ron and Hermione bent closer to read it; the item was barely an inch long and placed right at the bottom of a column. It was headlined:
'Gone,' said Harry calmly.
Of course, she had preferred Cedric, he knew that . . . though if he'd only asked her to the Ball before Cedric had, things might have turned out differently . . . she had seemed sincerely sorry that she'd had to refuse when Harry asked her . . .
'I'm in detention!' Harry yelled after her as she stalked away. 'D'you think I'd rather be stuck in a room with that old toad or playing Quidditch?'
'Morning,' Harry said brightly to Ron and Hermione as he joined them at the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall.
The parchment was now dotted with drops of blood from the back of his hand, which was searing with pain. When he next looked up, night had fallen and the Quidditch pitch was no longer visible.
'Oh . . . hi,' she said breathlessly. 'I didn't think anyone would be up here this early . . . I only remembered five minutes ago, it's my mum's birthday'
Crabbe, Goyle and Pansy Parkinson guffawed and shrieked with laughter. Ron mounted his broom and kicked off from the ground and Harry followed him, watching his ears turn red from behind.
They hurried off to North Tower together.
He had reached the top of the stairs, turned right and almost walked into Ron, who was lurking behind a statue of Lachlan the Lanky, clutching his broomstick. He gave a great leap of surprise when he saw Harry and attempted to hide his new Cleansweep Eleven behind his back.
'Nope,' said Harry.
'Because - '
'I'm not laughing,' said Harry. Ron blinked. 'It's a brilliant idea! It'd be really cool if you got on the team! I've never seen you play Keeper, are you good?'
Cho was looking from Harry to Filch, also frowning; the barn owl on her arm, tired of standing on one leg, gave an admonitory hoot but she ignored it.