'I didn't - I meant - sorry' he finished in a hushed voice.
'Yes, Harry Potter, yes!'
They all pelted towards the exit at once, forming a scrum at the door, then people burst through. Harry could hear them sprinting along the corridors and hoped they had the sense not to try and make it all the way to their dormitories. It was only ten to nine; if they just took refuge in the library or the Owlery, which were both nearer - '
The office was full of people. Dumbledore was sitting behind his desk, his expression serene, the tips of his long fingers together. Professor McGonagall stood rigidly beside him, her face extremely tense. Cornelius Fudge, Minister for Magic, was rocking backwards and forwards on his toes beside the fire, apparently immensely pleased with the situation; Kingsley Shacklebolt and a tough-looking wizard with very short wiry hair whom Harry did not recognise, were positioned either side of the door like guards, and the freckled, bespectacled form of Percy Weasley hovered excitedly beside the wall, a quill and a heavy scroll of parchment in his hands, apparently poised to take notes.
Beyond the chair, in a pool of light cast upon the floor by t'le candles, knelt a man in black robes.
Umbridge had continued attending all Care of Magical Creatures lessons, so it had been very difficult to deliver Firenze's warning to Hagrid. At last, Harry had managed it by pretending he'd lost his copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and doubling back after class one day. When he'd repeated Firenze's words, Hagrid gazed at him for a moment through his puffy, blackened eyes, apparently taken aback. Then he seemed to pull himself together.
'No - that's your job, isn't it?' Harry shot at him.
Harry turned. The centaur advanced a little towards him. Ron hesitated.
Harry felt a thrill of dread; he was about to pay for what had just happened, he was sure of it. They moved back into position with the desk between them, Harry feeling he was going to find it much harder to empty his mind this time.
'Sorry?' said Ron, looking bewildered.
Dobby nodded, then tried to bang his head on Harry's knees. Harry held him at arm's length.
'On the count of three, then,' said Snape, raising his wand once more. 'One - two - '
For some reason, Snape seemed even angrier than he had done two minutes before, when Harry had seen into his teacher's memories.
Meanwhile, Professor Umbridge was stalking the school, stopping students at random and demanding that they turn out their books and pockets: Harry knew she was looking for copies of The Quibbler, but the students were several steps ahead of her. Tie pages carrying Harry's interview had been bewitched to resemble extracts from textbooks if anyone but themselves read it, or else wiped magically blank until they wanted to peruse it again. Soon it seemed that every single person in the school had read it.
'He was heading back to Gryffindor Tower,' said Umbridge. There was an indecent excitement in her voice, the same callous pleasure Harry had heard as she watched Professor Trelawney dissolving with misery in the Entrance Hall. The Malfoy boy cornered him.'
' - is a human,' said Firenze simply. 'And is therefore blinkered and fettered by the limitations of your kind.'
'What about her? Dobby - she hasn't found out about this - 'about us - about the DA?'
'Trip Jinx, Potter!' he said. 'Hey, Professor - PROFESSOR! I've got one!'
'Hi, Dobby!' he said. 'What are you - What's wrong?'