'He was banned from the Hog's Head twenty years ago,' said Sirius, 'and that barman's got a long memory. We lost Moody's spare Invisibility Cloak when Sturgis was arrested, so Dung's been dressing as a witch a lot lately . . . anyway . . . first of all, Ron - I've sworn to pass on a message from your mother.'
Ron looked utterly perplexed.
Ron's smile slipped slightly as he looked out of the window, which was now opaque with hammering rain.
They trudged down the stone steps to the dungeons for Potions, all three of them, lost in thought, but as they reached the bottom of the steps they were recalled to themselves by the voice of Draco Malfoy, who was standing just outside Snape's classroom door, waving around an official-looking piece of parchment and talking much louder than was necessary so that they could hear every word.
'. . . may well choose to leave . . . the indignity of it . . . on probation . . . we shall see . . . how she dares . . .'
'Yes,' said Snape quietly.
'I was just wondering,' she said, her voice stronger now, 'whether we're doing the right thing, starting this Defence Against the Dark Arts group.'
'We could try the Fever Fudge,' George muttered, 'no one's seen that yet - '
But he gave Ron a significant look and the two of them hung back as the rest of the team filed back outside, muffled in their cloaks, their hats pulled low over their ears.
'All right, on my whistle,' shouted Angelina.
She squeezed away from them, narrowly dodged an ink pellet from Peeves, which hit a nearby first-year instead, and vanished from sight.
The three of them ran for it. At the door of the boys' dormitory Harry looked back. Umbridge's hand was still making snatching movements amongst the flames, as though she knew exactly where Sirius's hair had been moments before and was determined to seize it.
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'What in the name of Merlin,' said Ron slowly, as they followed Neville, 'was that about?'
'I don't reckon he'll risk it again,' said Ron. 'He's not stupid, he knows she nearly got him. Silencio.'
'Salamander blood, Harry!' Hermione moaned, grabbing his wrist to prevent him adding the wrong ingredient for the third time, 'not pomegranate juice!'
'Yes,' said Snape quietly, barely moving his lips. He looked very angry.
There was a short pause.
'You will notice,' said Snape, in his low, sneering voice, 'that we have a guest with us today.'
'Silencio!' said Hermione hastily, pointing her wand at Harry's frog, which deflated silently before them. 'Well, he mustn't do it again, that's all. I just don't know how we're going to let him know. We can't send him an owl.'