'Harry, I know it!' Someone panted up behind him and he turned to see Neville jogging towards him. 'Guess what it is? I'm actually going to be able to remember it for once - ' He waved the stunted little cactus he had shown them on the train. 'Mimbuius mimbletonia!'
'Yes, it is, but it's not the only worthwhile thing,' said Hermione thoughtfully, 'I mean, if I could take SPEW further . . .'
'Not bad,' muttered Harry, as a true account of his holiday would have taken most of the night to relate and he could not face it. 'You?'
'About You-Know-Who. He said his "gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust - " '
She walked away. Hermione waited until Cho was halfway across the courtyard before rounding on Ron.
His eyes rested on Harry and his lip curled. Harry glared back, feeling a grim pleasure at the idea that he would be able to give up Potions after fifth year.
'Every headmaster and headmistress of Hogwarts has brought something new to the weighty task of governing this historic school, and that is as it should be, for without progress there will be stagnation and decay. There again, progress for progress's sake must be discouraged, for our tried and tested traditions often require no tinkering. A balance, then, between old and new, between permanence and change, between tradition and innovation . . .'
'Because we're prefects!' said Hermione, as they climbed out through the portrait hole. 'It's up to us to stop this kind of thing!'
Seamus turned away from his poster and pulled his own pyjamas out of his trunk, still not looking at Harry.
Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnigan had reached the dormitory first and were in the process of covering the walls beside their beds with posters and photographs. They had been talking as Harry pushed open the door but stopped abruptly the moment they saw him. Harry wondered whether they had been talking about him, then whether he was being paranoid.
'A light silver vapour should now be rising from your potion,' called Snape, with ten minutes left to go.
'Only because you're terrified of him,' said Ron.
That's 'cause you put Bulbadox powder in his pyjamas,' said George.
'Couldn't you tell she wanted to talk to Harry on her own?'
'My gran says that's rubbish,' piped up Neville. 'She says it's the Daily Prophet that's going downhill, not Dumbledore. She's cancelled our subscription. We believe Harry,' said Neville simply. He climbed into bed and pulled the covers up to his chin, looking owlishly over them at Seamus. 'My grans always said You-Know-Who would come back one day. She says if Dumbledore says he's back, he's back.'
'Ow kunnit nofe skusin danger ifzat?' said Ron.
'Read the third line of the instructions for me, Potter.'
Seamus dressed at top speed next morning and left the dormitory before Harry had even put on his socks.
'Leave my mother out of this, Potter!'