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"Nope," said Ron. "Harry hasn't had much to do yet."
A sudden noise outside in the corridor put an end to their discussion. They hadn't realized how loudly they had been talking.
So now they had something else to worry about: what might happen to Hagrid if anyone found out he was hiding an illegal dragon in his hut. "Wonder what it's like to have a peaceful life," Ron sighed, as evening after evening they struggled through all the extra homework they were getting. Hermione had now started making study schedules for Harry and Ron, too. It was driving them nuts.
"You're saying it wrong," Harry heard Hermione snap. "It's Wing-gar-dium Levi-o-sa, make the 'gar' nice and long."
THE MIRROR OF ERISED
"Come on," he said to Ron. He pushed open the portrait of the Fat Lady and climbed through the hole.
Hermione hung her head. Harry was speechless. Hermione was the last person to do anything against the rules, and here she was, pretending she had, to get them out of trouble. It was as if Snape had started handing out sweets.
"Come back, boy!" she shouted, but Neville was rising straight up like a cork shot out of a bottle -- twelve feet -- twenty feet. Harry saw his scared white face look down at the ground falling away, saw him gasp, slip sideways off the broom and --
Harry and Hermione rushed up to the hospital wing at the end of the day to find Ron in a terrible state in bed.
What Harry feared most was that he might not be able to find the mirror room again. With Ron covered in the cloak, too, they had to walk much more slowly the next night. They tried retracing Harry's route from the library, wandering around the dark passageways for nearly an hour.
Harry had difficulty hiding his glee as he handed the note to Ron to read.
"Shut up, both of you!" said Harry sharply. I heard something."
It contains your new Nimbus Two Thousand, but I don't want everybody knowing you've got a broomstick or they'll all want one. Oliver Wood will meet you tonight on the Quidditch field at seven o'clock for your first training session.
"0' course I cant, he said. "Number one, I don' know meself. Number two, yeh know too much already, so I wouldn' tell yeh if I could. That Stone's here fer a good reason. It Was almost stolen outta Gringotts - I s'ppose yeh've worked that out an' all? Beats me how yeh even know abou' Fluffy."
"You haven't got a letter on yours," George observed. "I suppose she thinks you don't forget your name. But we're not stupid -- we know we're called Gred and Forge."
Neville's lips twitched in a weak smile as he unwrapped the frog.
Neville had never been on a broomstick in his life, because his grandmother had never let him near one. Privately, Harry felt she'd had good reason, because Neville managed to have an extraordinary number of accidents even with both feet on the ground.
Harry had a lot of trouble keeping his mind on his lessons that day. It kept wandering up to the dormitory where his new broomstick was lying under his bed, or straying off to the Quidditch field where he'd be learning to play that night. He bolted his dinner that evening without noticing what he was eating, and then rushed upstairs with Ron to unwrap the Nimbus Two Thousand at last.
"You asked me to come directly to you, Professor, if anyone was wandering around at night, and somebody's been in the library Restricted Section."
There was a hitch. By the next morning, Ron's bitten hand had swollen to twice its usual size. He didn't know whether it was safe to go to Madam Pomfrey -- would she recognize a dragon bite? By the afternoon, though, he had no choice. The cut had turned a nasty shade of green. It looked as if Norbert's fangs were poisonous.
Hedwig hadn't brought Harry anything so far. She sometimes flew in to nibble his ear and have a bit of toast before going off to sleep in the owlery with the other school owls. This morning, however, she fluttered down between the marmalade and the sugar bowl and dropped a note onto Harry's plate. Harry tore it open at once. It said, in a very untidy scrawl:;
"And she's really belting along up there, a neat pass to Alicia Spinnet, a good find of Oliver Wood's, last year only a reserve -- back to Johnson and -- no, the Slytherins have taken the Quaffle, Slytherin Captain Marcus Flint gains the Quaffle and off he goes -- Flint flying like an eagle up there -- he's going to sc- no, stopped by an excellent move by Gryffindor Keeper Wood and the Gryffindors take the Quaffle -- that's Chaser Katie Bell of Gryffindor there, nice dive around Flint, off up the field and -- OUCH -- that must have hurt, hit in the back of the head by a Bludger -- Quaffle taken by the Slytherins -- that's Adrian Pucey speeding off toward the goal posts, but he's blocked by a second Bludger -- sent his way by Fred or George Weasley, can't tell which -- nice play by the Gryffindor Beater, anyway, and Johnson back in possession of the Quaffle, a clear field ahead and off she goes -- she's really flying -- dodges a speeding Bludger -- the goal posts are ahead -- come on, now, Angelina -- Keeper Bletchley dives -- misses -- GRYFFINDORS SCORE!"