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Harry smiled back vaguely, but as he pulled on his scarlet robes his mind was far from Quidditch. Malfoy had once before claimed he could not play due to injury, but on that occasion he had made sure the whole match was rescheduled for a time that suited the Slytherins better. Why was he now happy to let a substitute go on? Was he really ill, or was he faking?
The whistle sounded, Harry and the others kicked off hard from the frozen ground, and they were away.
A moment later, Harry had given a loud yell and leapt out of his camp bed; the package contained a large number of maggots. "Nice," said Ron, roaring with laughter. "Very thoughtful." "I'd rather have them than that necklace," said Harry, which sobered Ron up at once.
'Ron reckons 1 should just hang back after Potions this afternoon ...'
Harry had to mull that one over for a few seconds before re-sponding. "I don't really know what you mean, Minister."
Ron fell asleep almost immediately, but Harry delved into his trunk and pulled out his copy of Advanced Potion-Making before getting into bed. There he turned its pages, searching, until he finally found, at the front of the book, the date that it had been pub-lished. It was nearly fifty years old. Neither his father, nor his father's friends, had been at Hogwarts fifty years ago. Feeling disappointed, Harry threw the book back into his trunk, turned off the lamp, and rolled over, thinking of werewolves and Snape, Stan Shunpike and the Half-Blood Prince, and finally falling into an uneasy sleep full of creeping shadows and the cries of bitten children. . . .
'Yes,' said Harry, deciding on the spot that it was best not to lie.
Malfoy spun round on the spot, his hand flying to his wand, but at thai precise moment the four Heads of House shouted, 'Quiet!' and silence fell again. Malfoy turned slowly to face the front.
"D'you think Hermione did snog Krum?" Ron asked abruptly, as they approached the Fat Lady. Harry gave a guilty start and wrenched his imagination away from a corridor in which no Ron intruded, in which he and Ginny were quite alone — "What?" he said confusedly. "Oh ... er ..." The honest answer was "yes," but he did not want to give it. However, Ron seemed to gather the worst from the look on Harry's face.
Harry said nothing. He thought he saw, dimly, where they were heading, but he was not going to help Scrimgeour get there. The gnome under the rhododendron was now digging for worms at its roots, and Harry kept his eyes fixed upon it.
"Yeah, well, never mind that," said Harry quickly. "The point is, Filch is being fooled isn't he? These girls are getting stuff into the school disguised as something else! So why couldn't Malfoy have brought the necklace into the school --?"
Harry had barely a second ' s warning; he heard Malfoy's footsteps on the other side of the door and flung himself out of the way just as it burst open . Malfoy was striding away down the corridor, past the open door of Slughorns office, around the distant corner, and out of sight. Hardly daring to breathe, Harry remained crouched down as Snape emerged slowly from the classroom. His expression unfath-omable, he returned to the party. Harry remained on the floor, hid-den beneath the cloak, his mind racing.
"Tampered with?" repeated Harry, sitting back down too.
There was silence for a moment or two, then Ron said, " 'Course, you know what they'll all say? Dad and Dumbledore and all of them? They'll say Snape isn't really trying to help Malfoy, he was just trying to find out what Malfoy's up to."
Harry inhaled half his mead up his nose as he started to lau gh. Really, it had been worth bringing Luna just for this. Emerging, from his goblet, coughing, sopping wet but still grinning, he saw something calculated to raise his spirits even higher: Draco Malf o y being dragged by the ear toward them by Argus Filch.
"My dear boy!" she said in a very carrying whisper. "The rumors! The stories! 'The Chosen One'! Of course, I have known for a very long time. . . . The omens were never good, Harry. . . But why have you not returned to Divination? For you, of all people, the subject is of the utmost importance!"。