'That's the trouble with Quidditch,' said Hermione absent-mindedly, once again bent over her Runes translation, 'it creates all this bad feeling and tension between the houses.'
'Er . . . listen, d'you want to come with me to the Three Broomsticks at lunchtime? I'm meeting Hermione Granger there.'
'People have written to me because I gave an interview,' said Harry. 'About what happened to me last June.'
'What are you up to?' Harry asked, sitting down and staring from Rita to Luna to Hermione.
'Some people won't,' said Hermione in a level voice. 'But the Daily Prophet's version of the Azkaban breakout had some gaping holes in it. I think a lot of people will be wondering whether there isn't a better explanation of what happened, and if there's an alternative story available, even if it is published in a - ' she glanced sideways at Luna, 'in a - well, an unusual magazine - I think they might be rather keen to read it.'
'I mean a reporter asked me questions and I answered them,' said Harry. 'Here - '
And though Harry would rather have jumped off the Astronomy Tower than admit it to her, by the time he had watched the game the following Saturday he would have given any number of Galleons not to care about Quidditch either.
Seen and Unforseen
'Ron and Ginny not here?' asked Fred, looking around as he pulled up a chair, and when Harry shook his head, he said, 'Good. We were watching their practice. They're going to be slaughtered. They're complete rubbish without us.'
'I thought,' she said, tears spattering down on to the table, 'I thought you'd u - u - understand! I need to talk about it! Surely you n - need to talk about it t - too! I mean, you saw it happen, d - didn't you?'
'You want me to report what he says about He Who Must Not Be Named?' Rita asked Hermione in a hushed voice.
'I'm not saying what she did was sensible,' said Hermione, as Ginny joined them, just as muddy as Ron and looking equally disgruntled. 'I'm just trying to make you see how she was feeling at the time.'
'Women!' he muttered angrily, sloshing down the rain-washed street with his hands in his pockets. 'What did she want to talk about Cedric for, anyway? Why does she always want to drag up a subject that makes her act like a human hosepipe?'
By mid-morning enormous signs had been put up all over the school, not just on house noticeboards, but in the corridors and classrooms too.
Well, bring her along if you must,' said Hermione urgently. 'But will you come?'
'Are you coming?' Harry asked Ron, but he shook his head, looking glum.
They sat down at the last remaining table, which was over by the steamy window. Roger Davies, the Ravenclaw Quidditch Captain, was sitting about a foot and a half away with a pretty blonde girl. They were holding hands. The sight made Harry feel uncomfortable, particularly when, looking around the teashop, he saw that t was full of nothing but couples, all of them holding hands. Perhaps Cho would expect him to hold her hand.
' "Important stories he thinks the public needs to know", eh?' she said witheringly. 'I could manure my garden with the contends of that rag.'
They entered the Great Hall for breakfast at exactly the same moment as the post owls on Monday morning. Hermione was not the only person eagerly awaiting her Daily Prophet: nearly everyone was eager for more news about the escaped Death Eaters, who, despite many reported sightings, had still not been caught. She gave the delivery owl a Knut and unfolded the newspaper eagerly while Harry helped himself to orange juice; as he had only received one note during the entire year, he was sure, when the first owl landed with a thud in front of him, that it had made a mistake.