'You and Umbridge have got something in common,' Harry told Hermione quietly when they met again in Defence Against the Dark Arts. 'She obviously reckons Trelawney's an old fraud, too . . . looks like she's put her on probation.'
'Did you see it?'
'OUCH!' said Harry.
'Well then, why are you out of class?'
Peeves floated over them on his stomach, peashooter at the ready; automatically all three of them lifted their bags to cover their heads until he had passed.
'Wha-? Oh - oh, right,' said Ron, very flustered. 'Er - silencio!'
'Consider what?' said Ron angrily. 'She's given the Slytherins permission, why not us?'
'Sirius!' he said.
'I know, I know, said Angelina miserably. 'She just said she needed a bit of time to consider.'
'Hope this clears up. What's up with you, Hermione?'
Professor Grubbly-Plank pulled a monocle out of the inside of her robes and screwed it into her eye, to examine Hedwig's wing closely. 'I should be able to sort this out if you leave her with me, Potter,' she said, 'she shouldn't be flying long distances for a few days, in any case.'
Hermione gave a horrified gasp and leapt to her feet, still staring at the fire.
'Of course,' said Hermione coolly.
'Who overheard us?' Harry demanded.
'Don't rise,' Hermione whispered imploringly to Harry and Ron, who were both watching Malfoy, faces set and fists clenched. 'It's what he wants.'
The large and ugly raven in front of him let out a derisive caw.
Hedwig was quivering; when Harry made to touch the wing she gave a little jump, all her feathers on end as though she was inflating herself, and gazed at him reproachfully.
'I suppose this is relevant?' Snape asked, his black eyes narrowed.
- CHAPTER EIGHTEEN -