But the fact remained that if he was caught . . .
Harry tried to make a case for Snape having deserved what he had suffered at James's hands: but hadn't Lily asked, 'What's he done to you?' And hadn't James replied, 'It's more the fact that he exists, if you know what I mean.' Hadn't James started it all simply because Sirius had said he was bored? Harry remembered Lupin saying back in Grimmauld Place that Dumbledore had made him prefect in the hope that he would be able to exercise some control over James and Sirius . . . but in the Pensieve, he had sat there and let it all happen . . .
He could just imagine Professor McGonagall's reaction if he was caught trespassing in Professor Umbridge's office mere hours after she had vouched for him . . . there was nothing to stop him simply going back to Gryffindor Tower and hoping that some time during the next summer holidays he would have a chance to ask Sirius about the scene he had witnessed in the Pensieve . . . nothing, except that the thought of taking this sensible course of action made him feel as though a lead weight had dropped into his stomach . . . and then there was the matter of Fred and George, whose diversion was already planned, not to mention the knife Sirius had given him, which was currently residing in his schoolbag along with his father's old Invisibility Cloak.
'Harry, I'm talking to you, can you hear me?'
'Well, Potter, this meeting is to talk over any career ideas you might have, and to help you decide which subjects you should continue into the sixth and seventh years,' said Professor McGonagall. 'Have you had any thoughts about what you would like to do after you leave Hogwarts?'
Ron went into a rant about Marietta Edgecombe, which Harry found helpful; all he had to do was look angry, nod and say 'Yeah' and That's right' whenever Ron drew breath, leaving his mind free to dwell, ever more miserably, on what he had seen in the Pensieve.
'Sorry, Professor,' he panted, as he closed the door. 'I forgot.'
'LEAVE HIM ALONE!' Lily shouted. She had her own wand out now. James and Sirius eyed it warily.
'Fine,' she said coolly. 'I won't bother in future. And I'd wash your pants if I were you, Snivellus.'
'So,' said Snape, gripping Harry's arm so tightly Harry's hand was starting to feel numb. 'So . . . been enjoying yourself, Potter?'
'This'll liven you up, Padfoot,' said James quietly. 'Look who it is Sirius's head turned. He became very still, like a dog that has scented a rabbit.
But did he want to be like his father any more?
Madam Pince was swooping down on them, her shrivelled face contorted with rage.
Harry swung his bag over his shoulder and hurried out of the room, not daring to look at Professor Umbridge. He could hear her and Professor McGonagall continuing to shout at each other all the way back along the corridor.
'I'm bored,' said Sirius. 'Wish it was full moon.'
But Sirius snorted. 'I don't need to look at that rubbish, I know it all.'
Harry looked around and glimpsed Snape a short way away, moving between the tables towards the doors to the Entrance Hall, still absorbed in his own exam paper. Round-shouldered yet angular, he walked in a twitchy manner that recalled a spider, and his oily hair was jumping about his face.
'Potter has no chance whatsoever of becoming an Auror!'
his own bat.' She sighed heavily. 'Anyway . . . a package just arrived, it's only just got through Umbridge's new screening process.'