Harry would normally have tried to persuade Hagrid out of this idea at once; the prospect of a second giant taking up residence in the Forest, possibly even wilder and more brutal than Grawp, was positively alarming, but somehow Harry could not muster the energy necessary to argue the point. He was starting to wish he was alone again, and with the idea of hastening his departure he took several large gulps of his dandelion juice, half-emptying bis glass.
Harry thanked the others and accompanied Ron back to their compartment, where he bought a large pile of cauldron cakes and pumpkin pasties. Hermione was reading the Daily Prophet again, Ginny was doing a quiz in The Quibbler and Neville was stroking his Mimbulus mimbletonia, which had grown a great deal over the year and now made odd crooning noises when touched.
Snape stared at him.
He and Mr Weasley took the lead across the station towards the Dursleys, who were apparently rooted to the floor. Hermione disengaged herself gently from her mother to join the group.
The Second War Begins
'Right then,' said Professor McGonagall, looking up at the hourglasses on the wall. 'Well, I think Potter and his friends ought to have fifty points apiece for alerting the world to the return of You-Know-Who! What say you, Professor Snape?'
'Well, I've lost most of my possessions,' said Luna serenely. 'People take them and hide them, you know. But as it's the last night, I really do need them back, so I've been putting up signs.'
'Well, I always thought he was a bit of an idiot,' he said, prodding his queen forwards towards Harry's quivering castle. 'Good for you. Just choose someone - better - next time.
'Why not?' said Harry. 'Anyway - it doesn't matter - Sirius won't care if it's unusual, he'll come back, I know he will!'
'Er - isn't it?' said Harry uncertainly.
'No . . . no . . .' said Umbridge, sinking back into her pillows. 'No, I must have been dreaming . . .'
That might, indeed, have been the more practical course,' said Dumbledore, 'except that Voldemort's information about the prophecy was incomplete. The Hog's Head inn, which Sybill chose for its cheapness, has long attracted, shall we say, a more interesting clientele than the Three Broomsticks. As you and your friends found out to your cost, and I to mine that night, it is a place where it is never safe to assume you are not being overheard. Of course, I had not dreamed, when I set out to meet Sybill Trelawney, that I would hear anything worth overhearing. My - our - one stroke of good fortune was that the eavesdropper was detected only a short way into the prophecy and thrown from the building.'
'But you did!' said Harry angrily. 'You came back - you're dead and you didn't disappear - '
'Well, Flitwick's got rid of Fred and George's swamp,' said Ginny, 'he did it in about three seconds. But he left a tiny patch under the window and he's roped it off - '
'I did,' said Dumbledore. 'On a cold, wet night sixteen years ago, in a room above the bar at the Hog's Head inn. I had gone there to see an applicant for the post of Divination teacher, though it was against my inclination to allow the subject of Divination to continue at all. The applicant, however, was the great-great-granddaughter of a very famous, very gifted Seer and I thought it common politeness to meet her. I was disappointed. It seemed to me that she had not a trace of the gift herself. I told her, courteously I hope, that I did not think she would be suitable for the post. I turned to leave.'
'It means - me?'
'Er - Hagrid's,' said Harry. 'You know, he just got back and I promised I'd go down and see him and tell him how you two are.'
Harry closed his eyes. If he had not gone to save Sirius, Sirius would not have died . . . More to stave off the moment when he would have to think of Sirius again, Harry asked, without caring much about the answer, The end of the prophecy . . . it was something about . . . neither can live . . .'
'I've got to go and visit Ron and Hermione in the hospital wing,' he said mechanically.