Hermione looked as though she was restraining herself from rolling her eyes with extreme difficulty.
'You received the note I sent to your cabin this morning?' said Umbridge, in the same loud, slow voice she had used with him earlier, as though she were addressing somebody both foreign and very slow. Telling you that I would be inspecting your lesson?'
Ron said nothing, but looked disgruntled. They sat in silence for another twenty minutes, Ron finishing his Transfiguration essay with many snorts of impatience and crossings-out, Hermione writing steadily to the very end of the parchment, rolling it up carefully and sealing it, and Harry staring into the fire, wishing more than anything that Sirius's head would appear there and give him some advice about girls. But the fire merely crackled lower and lower, until the red-hot embers crumbled into ash and, looking around, Harry saw that they were, yet again, the last ones in the common room.
'Who did you see die?' she asked, her tone indifferent.
Harry did not say anything to this; it was quite true, but he felt heartless saying it.
'No,' said Harry and Ron together.
'Mind yer own business!' said Hagrid, angrily. 'Now, if yeh've finished askin' stupid questions, follow me!'
'What is it, Potter? Where does it hurt?'
'And what about the Beaters? he asked, trying to keep his voice even.
'I'm sorry?' said Professor Umbridge loudly, cupping her hand around her ear and frowning. 'What did you say?'
Harry put out his tongue . . . he tasted the man's scent on the air . . . he was alive but drowsy . . . sitting in front of a door at the end of the corridor ..
'You misunderstand me,' said Dumbledore, still in the same calm tone. 'I mean . . . can you remember - er - where you were positioned as you watched this attack happen? Were you perhaps standing beside the victim, or else looking down on the scene from above?'
The words seemed to reverberate in the air after he had said them, sounding slightly ridiculous, even comic. There was a pause in which Dumbledore leaned back and stared meditatively at the ceiling. Ron looked from Harry to Dumbledore, white-faced and shocked.
- CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO -
He, Crabbe and Goyle roared with laughter as they pushed past on their way to the castle, then broke into a chorus of 'Weasley is our King'. Ron's ears turned scarlet.
His forehead hurt terribly . . . it was aching fit to burst . . .
The gargoyle sprang to life and leapt aside; the wall behind it split in two to reveal a stone staircase that was moving continually upwards like a spiral escalator. The three of them stepped on to the moving stairs; the wall closed behind them with a thud and they were moving upwards in tight circles until they reached the highly polished oak door with the brass knocker shaped like a griffin.
'But they're really, really unlucky!' interrupted Parvati, looking alarmed. They're supposed to bring all sorts of horrible misfortune on people who see them. Professor Trelawney told me once - '