'Because - ' Harry hesitated, but the moment to confess finally seemed to have come. There was no good to be gained in keeping silent if it meant anyone suspected that Fred and George were criminals. 'Because they got the gold from me. I gave them my Triwizard winnings last June.'
There was a shocked silence, then Hermione's teacup jogged right over the edge of the desk and smashed on the floor.
'Yeah, I s'pose so,' said Harry, glad of a change of subject.
'Now you mention it,' said Lupin, a faint crease between his eyebrows, 'how did Snape react when he found you'd seen all this?'
'Once James had deflated his head a bit,' said Sirius.
just a few stairs in front of him, once more looking down upon her prey. 'So - you think it amusing to turn a school corridor into a swamp, do you?'
Fred and George had made sure nobody was likely to forget them too soon. For one thing, they had not left instructions on how to remove the swamp that now filled the corridor on the fifth floor of the east wing. Umbridge and Filch had been observed trying different means of removing it but without success. Eventually, the area was roped off and Filch, gnashing his teeth furiously, was given the task of punting students across it to their classrooms. Harry was certain that teachers like McGonagall or Flitwick could have removed the swamp in an instant but, just as in the case of Fred and George's Wildfire Whiz-bangs, they seemed to prefer to watch Umbridge struggle.
Hagrid had said, at least sixteen feet tall. Gazing blearily around, Grawp reached out a hand the size of a beach umbrella, seized a bird's nest from the upper branches of a towering pine and turned it upside-down with a roar of apparent displeasure that there was no bird in it; eggs fell like grenades towards the ground and Hagrid threw his arms over his head to protect himself.
None of the staff but Filch seemed to be stirring themselves to help her. Indeed, a week after Fred and Georges departure Harry witnessed Professor McGonagall walking right past Peeves, who was determinedly loosening a crystal chandelier, and could have sworn he heard her tell the poltergeist out of the corner of her mouth, 'It unscrews the other way.'
'Yeah . . . well, tha's what it sounds like when he says his name,' said Hagrid anxiously. 'He don' speak a lot of English . . . I've bin tryin' ter teach him . . . anyway, she don' seem ter have liked him much more'n she liked me. See, with giantesses, what counts is producin' good big kids, and he's always been a bit on the runty side fer a giant - on'y sixteen foot - '
The final match of the Quidditch season, Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw, was to take place on the last weekend of May. Although Slytherin had been narrowly defeated by Hufflepuff in their last match, Gryffindor were not daring to hope for victory, due mainly (though of course nobody said it to him) to Ron's abysmal goal-keeping record. He, however, seemed to have found a new optimism.
'Well, now - "violent" - tha's a bit harsh,' said Hagrid, still twisting his hands agitatedly. 'I'll admit he mighta taken a couple o' swings at me when he's bin in a bad mood, but he's gettin' better, loads better, settlin' down well.'
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'Even Snape?' said Harry.
'OK, OK,' said Harry, thoroughly discomposed, not to mention annoyed. 'I'll . . . I'll try and say something to him . . . but it won't be - '
'Yeah,' said Harry. 'I just wondered - I mean, I just fancied a - 'a chat with Sirius.'
'How on earth did you gel him back without anyone noticing?' said Harry.
'It'll be my fault Fred and George left, you wait,' said Ron darkly. 'She'll say I should've stopped them leaving, I should've grabbed the ends of their brooms and hung on or something . . . yeah, it'll be all my fault.'
Sure enough, Harry could hear a distant, rhythmic rumbling that sounded like a pair of enormous lungs at work. He glanced sideways at Hermione, who was gazing at the mound with her mouth slightly open. She looked utterly terrified.
'Er . . . can't it wait, Hagrid?' asked Harry. till the match is over?' 'No,' said Hagrid. 'No, Harry, it's gotta be now . . . while ev'ryone's lookin' the other way . . . please?'