"I'm well sorry, mate," Ron said Saturday morning as he threw the last of his clothes and books haphazardly into his trunk. "I dunno why Mum hasn't answered yet." He threw the lid of his trunk down and promptly sat on it to get it to latch. "You could always just come on the train anyway. I mean, she's not going to turn you away once you're already there."
Harry shrugged and unwrapped another Chocolate Frog. Since his employment was no longer a secret, Ron had shown Harry all the stuff he'd bought in Hogsmeade, and the stash was even more impressive than Harry had first imagined. "It's okay," he said, trying to keep his voice light. He'd made up his mind that he would enjoy his solitude during the holidays. It wasn't that he wasn't looking forward to Christmas, but thinking about Christmas reminded him of his godfather, and the happiest he'd ever seen him. "I reckon your Mum and Dad would like to have a holiday that's just family for once," he added.
Ron shot him a funny look. "What d'you mean?"
Just then, Hermione knocked on the door frame and poked her head into the room. She had transfigured her hair back to its normal state, much to Ron's relief. He kept insisting that she didn't look anything like herself, and that he felt like he was talking to a stranger.
"So what's the verdict?" she asked, wandering over to sit next to Harry on the end of his bed. "Are you off to the Burrow for the holidays or will you be staying here?"
"Staying here," Harry announced.
Ron shrugged at him.
"Good," Hermione said breathlessly. Harry and Ron gave her an odd look. "I mean," she added quickly, "it would be rude to just show up, don't you think?"
"Shouldn't you be packing?" Ron asked as he threw an errant pair of socks into his school bag. "Train leaves in less than half an hour."
"Oh, right..." Hermione said as she hurried out of the room.
"What's with her?" Ron asked as he grabbed the last of his things. "She's being awfully vague."
Harry shrugged. "You know, she says she's glad we're on speaking terms again and everything, but I bet she's actually disappointed that she doesn't get to have you all to herself any more..."
Ron began to blush and he threw another handful of Chocolate Frogs at Harry. "Shut up," he said genially, turning to load the remaining chocolates into his bag.
"Are you ever going say anything to her?" Harry asked as he watched Ron finishing to pack.
"You know what I mean!"
Ron shrugged and Harry grinned as he watched the backs of Ron’s ears turning redder.
"Harry!" Neville panted, rushing into the room. "Harry, you haven't seen Trevor, have you?"
Harry smiled and shook his head. "Sorry, I haven't."
Neville sighed. "I didn't really think so. He's gone off somewhere again. Listen, if I give you his food, would you feed him for me over the holiday?"
"Yeah, sure," Harry shrugged, "but how am I supposed to feed him if I can't find him?" Neville dug for a moment in his bag before producing a small bottle.
"Oh, you can just leave a little pile of these on my bedside table," he said, handing Harry the bottle. "That's what I do when I can't find him. He always comes out when he gets hungry enough."
Harry took the little bottle and shook it, examining the contents, which looked to be dried flies.
"Sure," he repeated heartily, "no problem." Neville smiled, relieved.
"Thanks, Harry. See you on the train, Ron!" Neville hurried out of the room.
"Yeah," Ron replied from where he was looking for something under his bed. "See you." Moments later, he reemerged, clutching his homework planner.
"Already said goodbye to Gwyn?" he asked Harry while shoving the planner into his already overfilled bag.
"No, I said I'd meet her in the Entrance Hall."
"Right, well, we'd better go then." Ron hoisted his bulging bag over his shoulder and left his trunk to be magically carried to the train.
He and Ron walked all the way down to the Entrance Hall, where students were filing out through the enormous doors and into the carriages waiting to carry them down to the train.
"You're certain you don’t want to come?" Ron asked again as he hesitated by the door. Harry smiled a little more broadly.
"I am, but tell everyone hello from me."
Ron nodded. He turned towards the door, and then suddenly turned back and threw one arm around Harry's shoulders.
"Happy Christmas," he said, pounding Harry forcefully on the back several times.
"Happy Christmas, Ron," Harry gulped.
Ron nodded curtly and turned to rush out of the door yelling for Ginny to hold her carriage.
"What's this?" Gwyn asked, sidling up to Harry from behind. "Harry and Ron hugging? Not trying to kill each other with bad hairstyles, but hugging? My world's gone all askew." Harry grinned as she slipped one hand into his. "Don't tell me I've got competition for you," she continued. "I'd be crushed."
"Who, Ron? If I thought you were even remotely serious about that..." Harry laughed. "I think you'll find you like me even better when I'm not spending most of my time being angry at my best mate."
"I don't think it would be possible for me to like you any better," Gwyn said. She made a face. "Ick! When did I turn into such a saccharine sweetie? You're a bad influence on me, Potter." Harry bent down and kissed her gently, reveling in her warmth and her familiar scent.
"Mmm..." she said softly. "Not that I'm complaining..."
"Oh, get a room," someone muttered. Harry glanced up and saw Pansy Parkinson glaring at them from across the hall. Malfoy was walking past her and, for a moment, he and Harry locked eyes.
Gwyn saw Harry’s expression change and squeezed his hand. She began pleading with him under her breath. "Don't say anything. I know what you want to say. Just don't, OK?"
Harry nodded, choking down the urge to turn Malfoy into something small and wiggly, and focused his attention back on Gwyn.
"Don't get too lonely in this big old drafty castle," she said in a brighter tone. "And send me an owl as soon as you open my Christmas present."
"You too," he said. "I mean, don't get too lonely in... er. London." Gwyn laughed as she stood on her tiptoes and kissed him on the cheek.
"Merry Christmas, Harry! See you next year!" She darted out into the cold and ran for a carriage where Justin was waiting and waving goodbye to Harry. Harry waved back. As Gwyn shut the door and the carriage trundled off, Harry turned and saw Malfoy waiting behind Pansy to get into his own carriage. He was watching Gwyn's carriage drive away. He turned, then, and locked eyes with Harry. Harry frowned, wishing that he could just make Malfoy pay. Then Malfoy, like everyone else, was gone.
Sullen, and more than a little disappointed to be left behind once again, Harry headed back for Gryffindor Tower, hands shoved deep in his pockets. He usually liked Hogwarts at Christmas, when most of the students and even some of the professors were gone for the holidays. It was quiet and peaceful. And a little dull, he reminded himself. With a sigh, he gave the fat lady the password and climbed into the empty common room.
Only, it wasn't empty.
"Hermione?" he exclaimed in shock. "What are you doing here? You've got to go! The carriages have already left and the train--" He stopped as he realized she was sniffling and wiping her face. "What happened?" he asked quickly. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing," she said in a falsely cheerful voice, a smile pasted onto her face. "And, it's all right about the train -- I'm not going home for Christmas." Her voice broke slightly on the word 'Christmas' and she hung her head.
"Why not?" Harry asked, dropping down onto the sofa next to her. "I thought you were spending the holidays with your parents."
Hermione nodded and swallowed hard. "Well," she said at last, "that was the plan. But my parents started getting The Daily Prophet after they saw me reading it over the summer."
Harry frowned, confused. "What's a newspaper got to do with your holidays?"
"There was an article in the paper, maybe a week ago, about how there have been all these mysterious attacks on Muggle-born witches and wizards, especially when they were around their Muggle family."
"You didn't say anything about that," Harry said ruefully. Normally, he relied on Hermione to pass on any relevant information from the paper, as she was the only one who read it on a regular basis.
She shrugged helplessly. "I think it scared Mum and Dad," she said softly. "They don't really understand what's going on in the wizarding world, but they're not stupid. So they wrote to Dumbledore." She took a deep breath. "And he told them that there was nowhere in the world safer than Hogwarts. After reading that, they decided I'd better just stay here for Christmas." A tear ran down her face and she brushed it absently away. "Which wouldn't be so bad," she continued, struggling to keep her voice steady, "except that I haven't seen them in such a long time because I spent most of the summer at Grimmauld Place, and what if..." Her voice trailed off, and she sniffed loudly, dabbing at her face with a rumpled handkerchief. “I mean, anything could happen, you know, to anyone, and I just want to see them.”
Harry tried to smile sympathetically at her, but she wouldn't meet his eyes. His first reaction whenever Hermione started to cry was to get as far away as quickly as possible; he had absolutely no idea what to do with her. Seeing as he was the only other person around, however, he felt he ought to try something.
Awkwardly, he put his arm around her shoulders and resisted the urge to pat her and say "there, there." Hermione sniffed again and shrugged his arm off.
"It's fine," she said in her cheerful voice again. "I don't mean to be so silly, honestly. Anyway, you and I will have a grand time, won't we?"
"Of course we will," he answered quickly. "I mean, it was going to be dead boring without anyone else around. Besides," he said with a grin, "if you can't spend Christmas with your real family, you might as well spend it with your Hogwarts one.”
That elicited a small smile, and she patted his knee. "Thanks Harry," she said.
It turned out that Harry and Hermione were not the only students to stay at Hogwarts for the Christmas break, but it was a near thing. When they turned up for dinner in the great hall that night, the long tables were completely empty except for the staff table at the head of the room, and Professor McGonagall motioned for them to come up when she noticed them loitering in the back.
"Hardly enough of us to even warrant setting this table," she said as she motioned them towards two seats opposite her, "but the Headmaster likes a bit of camaraderie at the holidays."
Dumbledore raised his glass at McGonagall in acknowledgement and smiled at Harry and Hermione. Down the table a little way past Professor McGonagall sat a terrified looking second or third year Slytherin girl that neither of them knew, a couple of older Slytherin boys, and two Ravenclaw seventh years, one of whom Harry recognized as one of their beaters. Professors Flitwick and Sinestra were sitting with them, trying to engage the students in conversation with varying degrees of success. On Dumbledore's other side sat Professor Lindell, her head bent over a book next to her plate.
Harry began dishing food onto his plate when he heard the sound of a door. Off to the side of the hall through a small door that Harry knew led into a sort of waiting room, strode Professor Snape. His expression turned, if it were possible, even darker than usual upon seeing the students and professors sitting together at one table. Harry smirked very slightly to himself, imagining the war Snape must be fighting with himself as to whether or not he could conceivably turn and flee back to his own rooms.
He approached the table, nodding disdainfully at the Slytherins and at Professor Flitwick who waved at him genially. There were no more seats at that end of the table. He proceeded past Harry and Hermione without so much as a glance, and found himself in a very delicate situation; he could either sit next to Harry or next to Professor Lindell. Harry found himself vehemently hoping he would choose the latter.
Instead, he pulled out a chair two places down from Harry and sank heavily into it. Harry saw Professor Lindell's eyes glance up at him ever so briefly from her book, but her placid expression did not change.
Professor McGonagall, however, pressed her lips together very tightly and scowled down the table at him. "Severus, if you're going to go out of your way to be rude, you might as well not come up for meals at all."
"An excellent suggestion," Professor Snape replied, making as though to stand. Suddenly, however, Professor Lindell snapped her book shut and swept it off the table as she stood in one fluid motion.
"Not to worry, Minerva," she said coolly, "I was just leaving. Good evening." Without ever looking him in the eye, she turned and strode quickly out the side door. Harry and Hermione exchanged a furtive look.
Without another word, Snape threw his chair backwards from the table and he too left the room.
"They really don't like one another, do they?" Hermione said softly. Professor McGonagall sniffed.
Professor Dumbledore said nothing; he was busily lining up a perfect row of green peas on the blade of his butter knife, apparently oblivious to the drama that had just played itself out at his elbow.
Professor Sprout showed up about that time, dusting her hands on her robes as she took up Professor Lindell's emptied place. After saying her hellos, she glanced all up and down the length of the table. "But," she said, brow furrowing, "where's Phillipe?"
"We have not yet seen Mr. Fontaine, I'm afraid," Professor Dumbledore replied. Professor Sprout clucked her tongue and shook her head sadly as she helped herself to the peas.
"I was afraid of that. He's the only student from my house who stayed." She sighed heavily. "I think he's having trouble fitting in here. Doesn't seem to have made many friends, even in his own house." She glanced up at Harry across the table. "I was rather hoping the holidays would be a good chance for him to become better acquainted with you in particular, Mr. Potter. The two of you have a lot in common."
Harry smiled a bit feebly. He didn't think he'd spoken more than two words to Phillipe Fontaine all year. The boy was quiet and unassuming, and tended to blend into the background like a chameleon. He didn't answer questions in lessons, but he didn't get into trouble either. In fact, Harry probably wouldn't even have known who he was if not for that first day in potions when he'd walked in late. He wondered what Professor Sprout thought that he and Phillipe might have in common.
"Tell me, Harry," Professor Dumbledore said suddenly, "how are your lessons with Professor Lindell progressing? She informs me that you seem to have an uncanny natural aptitude for the subjects."
"Well, sir," Harry replied. A dozen things passed through his mind that he could say about Snape not noticing his talent, about Snape being a poor teacher, about Snape -- but then he recalled his conversation with Remus. "Professor Lindell is an excellent teacher," he said instead.
"She should be," Professor McGonagall said. "Top of her class, if I remember correctly. Good at everything, that girl was. Potions, charms, transfigurations. She went for more N.E.W.T.s than any other student I've ever taught, present company not excluded." Harry glanced at Hermione, who looked very impressed.
"It's no wonder she wanted to be a scriptionist," Hermione commented.
"As I recall," Professor McGonagall said thoughtfully, with a pointed glance at Harry, "that wasn't her first choice. She wanted to be an Auror."
Professor Dumbledore suddenly began to cough violently, startling everyone. Professor McGonagall had to slap him hard on the back several times before he recovered himself.
"Ah," he said, taking a sip of water. "Thank you, Minerva. A pea escaped down the wrong hatch, I'm afraid."
Harry frowned, thinking. Although Professor Lindell was certainly a formidable witch, he had trouble picturing her standing between Tonks and Kingsley in an Auror's robes. She seemed too delicate and elegant for that sort of work. He wanted desperately to ask more questions about Professor Lindell, but Professor Dumbledore had started reminiscing about a time when he'd choked on a peanut and Hagrid had broken three of his ribs doing the Heimlich Maneuver.
When the last crumbs of gingerbread disappeared from the table and a steaming urn of coffee took their place, after the other students had returned to their towers, Harry and Hermione said goodnight to their professors and headed out of the hall. Just outside the door, Hermione stopped to tie her shoelaces, when Harry heard something that caught his attention.
"…It's no wonder really, I suppose," Professor Sinestra was saying. "After what happened to her sister she was fixated on revenge."
Hermione stood to go, but Harry caught her arm, shushing her as he listened to the voices echoing out of the cavernous space.
“Poor dear,” replied the tiny voice of professor Flitwick. “But revenge? That seems very unlike Demetria.”
"Penny died when she was very young,” sighed McGonagall. “An accident was the official report, but Demetria made no secret of the fact that she believed her sister had been murdered and--"
Professor McGonagall stopped abruptly as Dumbledore coughed again. Harry pulled a face; the headmaster must know they were outside. Quickly, he and Hermione darted away towards the stairs.
"What do you suppose that was all about?" Harry asked quietly as he and Hermione entered Gryffindor Tower. "What do you think happened to Professor Lindell's sister? Why didn’t she become an Auror? Dumbledore clearly didn’t want us to know…"
Hermione shrugged. "Well can you blame him, Harry? We have something of a reputation for being nosy. He was probably worried we'd go to Professor Lindell and demand that she tell us all about it."
Harry frowned. "I'm not nosy," he said petulantly as they climbed through the portrait hole into the cold, dark common room. "I'm inquisitive, that’s all."
Hermione shook her head. "Inquisitive like a fox."
Late that night, Harry started awake in the lonely darkness of the empty tower. "They're coming!" he shouted aloud, but as soon as the words left his lips, he found he could not remember who was coming or why he had thought it. He passed a hand over his eyes, grateful that the dormitory was empty and that there would be no awkward questions as he cast about in his mind trying desperately to find a lingering strand of the dream that had woken him.
Beside him on the bed, something moved.
Harry stiffened, suddenly acutely aware of the warm weight lying next to him on top of the duvet. His heart began to pound in his ears and he held his breath. All he heard, however, was a great snuffling sigh.
Tentatively, Harry put his hand out in the darkness towards the thing on the bed and his fingers met a tangle of warm, coarse fur. Harry breathed a sigh of relief and allowed himself to slip back into the warm pocket of sleep he had only just left, feeling comfortable and safe with Padfoot curled against his hip.
The next morning, Harry awoke to a sharp knock on the door. He sat up, patting the side of his bed. He felt like he was missing something. Another knock interrupted his thoughts and he found he couldn't remember what ought to be there.
"Who is it?" he called, feeling around on his bedside table for his glasses.
"It's me!" Hermione called shrilly. "Who else would it be? Are you decent?"
"Just a minute!" Harry hurried out of bed and grabbed a jumper from his open trunk, pulling it on quickly over his pajama bottoms. "Yeah!" he called. "Come in!"
Hermione came rushing into the room, fully dressed, a stack of books filling her arms. She quickly closed the door with her foot, dumped the books on the end of Ron's bed, and rushed over to stoke the fire.
"It's freezing out there!" she squealed, holding her hands in front of the stove and rubbing them together for warmth.
"What's all this, then?" Harry asked, looking over the pile of books Hermione had brought with her. They had titles like, A Beginner's Guide to Healing Charms, Be Prepared! Practical First Aide for Witches and Wizards of All Ages, and A Healer's Guide to Home Safety.
"It's our holiday project!" Hermione said enthusiastically. "We're going to start learning basic healing spells to teach to the DA."
"We are?" Harry replied, doubtfully. He began digging through his trunk for a clean pair of trousers.
"I've already started reading A Beginner's Guide to Healing Charms, and there are quite a few things in there that could be very useful, especially if--" She stopped abruptly and Harry turned to look at her.
"Especially if what?" he asked.
She was busy stacking her books and papers neatly again, her back turned to him. "Well, you know..." she said hesitantly. "If we had to be in a battle again, like... like last year..."
"That's not going to happen," Harry said forcefully. Hermione glanced up at him at last. "I won't let it."
"Then what are we doing all this for?" Hermione demanded.
"I don't know! The healing charms were your idea--"
"Not the healing charms!" Hermione composed herself, then sighed and sat down on the end of Ron's bed. "What are we doing the DA for if you don't think we're going to be in another battle?" she asked pointedly.
"So that you can learn to protect yourselves," Harry said vehemently, "not so you can fight. What happened at the Ministry was a huge mistake, and I'm not going to let any of you get into a battle like that again."
"Harry," Hermione said, eyes searching his, "It's not always going to be up to you."
Harry frowned at her. A little voice inside his head told him that she was right, but he didn't want to admit it. Unhappily, he turned back to his trunk and started rummaging again.
The image of a streak of purple light hitting Hermione blazed in his mind. He remembered her expression of surprise as she began to fall, felt his own muscles tense as he tried to reach her. Harry blinked hard and shook his head. It didn't matter what Hermione said; he would never put his friends in danger like that again.
"Anyway," Hermione said hesitantly, "I thought you and I could start working out which charms we want to learn. You know, which ones would be the most useful and the easiest to master and all that."
Harry took a deep breath and nodded, turning to smile at her. "You're right," he said. "It's a grand idea. But can it wait until after breakfast?"
Hermione smiled, relieved.
The winter cold, which had been so late in coming, decided to assert itself with such frigid temperatures that everyone in the castle was reluctant to wander about. Professor McGonagall had informed them only a few days into the holiday that, while Christmas tea would still be served in the Great Hall, she had arranged for the rest of their meals to be sent up to the tower; the Great Hall was too large to heat for so few people.
The change in weather might have been welcome if it had been accompanied by thick drifts of snow around the castle, but the previous weeks' rains suddenly dried up, and while the skies turned slate grey and the wind howled around corners, the ground remained brittle, brown, and frozen. So, rather than spending their days out of doors, Harry and Hermione cloistered themselves in the boys' dormitory -- much smaller and easier to keep warm than the cavernous common room – and read about healing charms. It was Christmas Eve and Hermione was, as usual, curled up on Ron's bed, reading, while Harry composed a Christmas letter to Remus.
"How do you spell, ‘magnanimous’?" Harry asked, propping himself up on one elbow from the end of his bed.
"Just like it sounds," Hermione said without looking up from her reading. "Why? What are you being magnanimous about?"
Harry smiled. "I'm telling Remus that I'm very put out he decided not to show up in this country for Christmas, but that I'm feeling magnanimous and sending him his Christmas present anyway."
Hermione snorted and shook her head. "What did you get him?"
"A book." Harry felt himself blush slightly. "And socks."
Hermione looked up. "Socks?"
"Well, his have got holes in them. All of them. I noticed when it was Ron and my turn to do the wash over the summer. So I got him some nice wool ones." He yanked the lid off the box next to him. "They're part cashmere, so they're really soft, and they've got these Everlast charms on them so they won't shrink or stretch, get holes or any of that."
Hermione smiled at him as he held up a pair of soft, grey socks for her inspection. "They're lovely," she assured him. "I'm sure he'll like them."
Harry nodded to himself, carefully rolled the socks up, and placed them back in the box.
Hermione yawned and placed a bookmark in her book. "It's getting late," she observed. "I ought to go to bed." She smiled at him. "Want to be awake in plenty of time for presents, after all." Harry grinned as he picked up his quill to continue writing, but before he could answer, he heard an odd tapping noise. Hermione heard it too, and they both started looking around.
"At the window!" Hermione exclaimed, pointing. Harry got off of his bed and went over to the window, opening it wide enough for a large, brown, unfamiliar owl to flutter in out of the wind.
"Ooooo!" Hermione shivered. "Close it quick!" Harry obliged and turned to see what the owl had brought him, but it had fluttered over and landed next to Hermione on the bed.
"What is it?" Harry asked. Hermione pulled a roll of parchment off the owl's leg, and the bird took off, heading back towards Harry. He only managed to get the window open just in time, slammed it shut behind the bird, and went to sit next to Hermione.
"Special edition," Hermione said, her eyes already darting back and forth across the page. Harry glanced over her shoulder and gasped at what he saw there.
A large photograph, taking up the top half of the front page, showed five dementors gliding down the high street in Hogsmeade.
"That's Zonko's!" Harry exclaimed as the creatures passed the familiar shop front. One of the dementors paused, apparently to peer with its hidden eyes through a shop's front window.
"This is the second time dementors have been spotted in Hogsmeade," Hermione said, still reading furiously. "And apparently -- oh my god..."
"What?" Harry demanded, leaning in closer, trying to read over her shoulder.
"They got someone," Hermione whispered. "A Muggle-born witch named Janina Podgurski."
"What do you mean, they got her?" Harry asked, still trying to see around Hermione's head.
"'While the Ministry still refuses to confirm that the witch in question was the victim of a Kiss,'" Hermione began to read, "'witnesses say that at least two dementors entered Miss Podgurski's home, and when a party entered the home to try to drive the dementors away, they found Miss Podgurski in a catatonic state, completely unresponsive to any external stimuli.'" Harry felt Hermione shiver next to him.
"This happened today," she said. "Just a few hours ago." She glanced up at the window, eyes wide. "They might still be out there."
"Well, you don't have to worry about them," Harry said quickly. "You can do a Patronus, remember?"
Hermione gave him a skeptical look. "Of course I can," she said, "in broad daylight in a room full of my friends, no problem, but faced with a real dementor, in the middle of the night, all alone?" She shuddered again, passing him the newspaper. "I hate those things."
"Me too," Harry agreed, stealing a look at the darkened window in spite of himself. "But I don't think they're likely to come floating in through your bedroom window, if that's what you're worried about."
"Of course not," Hermione said quietly. He glanced over at her. She had drawn the duvet up around her shoulders. Her chin was tucked against her chest, only her eyes visible under the bushy cloud of her hair. "But there's nothing about Hogwarts keeping them out either, is there? Other than Professor Dumbledore, I mean."
Harry shrugged, unsure of whether or not he should confirm Hermione's fears. But she was right; as far as he knew, there wasn't anything to prevent a dementor from floating anywhere it wanted, even onto the Hogwarts grounds.
"I should go to bed," Hermione said, but she didn't move. "I'm just being silly, scaring myself like this." Harry nodded, suddenly not at all looking forward to the prospect of sleeping in an empty dormitory, himself.
"You could... You could stay here, if you wanted," he suggested, trying to make it sound as light as possible. "In Ron's bed, I mean," he added quickly. "I’m sure he wouldn’t mind. You know, just in case... or whatever."
Hermione began to nod slowly, then she stopped. "But that's pretty explicitly against the rules, Harry," she said. "Girls are not allowed to sleep in the boys' dormitory."
"Not even when there are dementors on the loose?" Harry countered. Hermione gave him a dubious look. "Besides," he added, "it's not like McGonagall does bed checks, and I don't think we've broken nearly enough rules this year. We need to start catching up."
Hermione smiled a little at that. "And it will be awfully cold in my room," she said thoughtfully. "I haven't stoked the fire all afternoon."
"Right," Harry said.
"Shall I put the lights out?" Hermione asked. They looked at one another for a long moment. Outside, the wind howled maliciously.
"Better not," Harry said at last. "You know, just in case."
"Right," Hermione answered. "Just in case."
A/N: Well, I'm sure a lot of you will have very definite opinions about this chapter, so lay em on me!! I can't wait.
Thanks as always! I love the reviews -- they are better than presents or ice cream or chocolate frogs!!
Write a Review Harry Potter and the Sect of the Serpent: Silent Night