Chapter no 15 – Forbidden Forest

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

THINGS can’t get any worse than this.

Filch took them to Professor McGonagall’s room on the first floor. There they sat and waited without speaking to each other. Hermione trembled. Excuses, alibis and lies raced through Harry’s mind, each weaker than the last. He didn’t know how they could avoid punishment this time. They’ve been cornered. How could they have been so stupid as to abandon the Invisibility Cloak? There was no reason in the world that could make Professor McGonagall accept why they didn’t sleep and instead wandered around the school in the middle of the night, let alone on the highest Astronomy tower, which was forbidden to go to except for lessons. Add the story about Norbert and the Invisibility Cloak, and they are as good as packing their suitcases, ready to leave the dormitory.

Did Harry think that things couldn’t get any worse than this? He was wrong. When Professor McGonagall appeared, she brought Neville.

“Harry!” Neville squealed as soon as he saw Harry and Hermione. “I was looking for you to warn me. I heard Malfoy was going to catch you red-handed, he said you had nag…”

Harry shook his head vigorously telling Neville to shut up, but Professor McGonagall had already seen. It looks more ready to spray

fire breath from Norbert as he stood towering in front of the three of them.

“I couldn’t believe you did something like this. Mr. Filch said you were at the Astronomy tower. It’s one o’clock in the morning. Explain!”

This was the first time Hermione couldn’t answer a teacher’s question. He looked down at his sandals, still as a statue.

“I think I can guess what happened,” said Professor McGonagall. ”It doesn’t take a genius to figure this out. You guys bragged lies about dragons to Draco Malfoy, so he would leave the bed and be punished. I’ve caught him. I suppose you thought it was amusing that Longbottom had heard the story and believed it?”

Harry signaled to Neville with his eyes, trying to tell him without words that this wasn’t true, as Neville looked shocked and offended. Poor Neville—Harry knew all too well how hard it must have been for Neville to search for him in the dark to warn him.

“I’m furious,” said Professor McGonagall. “Four kids left the bed in one night! Never before has something like this happened! You, Miss Granger, I thought you were smarter. As for you, Mr Potter, I think Gryffindor means a lot more to you than all this. The three of you will receive detention – yes, you too, Mr Longbottom, nothing gives you the right to wander around the school at night, especially these days, it’s so dangerous. Fifty points will be deducted from Gryffindor.”

“Fifty?” Harry was shocked—they would no longer be in the lead—his victory in the last Quidditch match had been in vain.

“Fifty each,” said Professor McGonagall, breathing heavily through her long, pointed nose.

“Professor—please…” “You can’t…”

“Don’t teach me what I can or can’t do, Potter. Now everyone goes back to bed. Never before have I been humiliated like this by the Gryffindors.”

One hundred and fifty numbers just disappeared. Making Gryffindor at the bottom. Overnight they had destroyed any chance Gryffindor had of winning the Cup

Hostel. Harry felt devastated. How can they make up for all this?

Harry didn’t sleep all night. For hours he could hear Neville sobbing into his pillow. Harry couldn’t think of anything to cheer him up. He knew Neville, like him, dreaded the coming of morning. What would happen if the other Gryffindors found out what they had done?

At first the Gryffindors, passing by the giant clock displaying the numbers for each house for the next day, thought there had been a mistake. How could their numbers suddenly decrease by one hundred and fifty from the previous day? Then the stories started to spread: Harry Potter, the famous Harry Potter, their Quidditch hero, the one who made them lose one hundred and fifty points, Harry Potter and two other first year idiots.

From being the most popular and most admired kid in school, Harry suddenly became the most hated kid. Even the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs joined in attacking him, because everyone had been waiting for Slytherin to lose the House Cup. Everywhere Harry went, children pointed and didn’t bother to lower their voices when they cursed at him. The Slytherins, on the other hand, cheered as Harry passed them, hooting and shouting, “Thank you, Potter. We owe you a debt of gratitude!”

Only Ron comforted him.

“They’ll forget all this in a few weeks. Fred and George have lost a lot of points in their time here, and the kids still love them.”

“But they’ve never lost a hundred and fifty points at once, have they?” said Harry miserably.

“Well—not yet,” Ron admitted.

It was a little too late to repair the damage that had been done, but Harry promised himself that from now on he would no longer interfere in things that were none of his business. He had had enough of sneaking around and spying. He felt so ashamed of himself that he went to Wood and asked to resign from the Quidditch team.

“Resign?” boomed Wood. “What’s the benefit? How are we going to get those points back if we don’t win the Quidditch match?”

Even Quidditch wasn’t fun anymore. The rest of the team wouldn’t talk to Harry during training, and if they had to talk about Harry, they called him the “Seeker.”

Hermione and Neville were suffering too. What they went through wasn’t as bad as Harry’s because they weren’t as popular as he was, but no one wanted to talk to them either. Hermione had stopped highlighting herself in class, she kept her head down and worked in silence.

Harry was almost glad that exams were soon. The busyness of studying made him forget his sadness for a moment. He, Ron, and Hermione studied apart from the rest of their friends, studying late into the night, trying to memorize the ingredients for complex potions, memorizing spells, memorizing the dates of the discovery of magic and the goblin rebellion.…

Then, about a week before the exams started, Harry’s new resolve not to interfere in things that didn’t concern him was unexpectedly put to the test. While returning home from the library alone one afternoon, he heard someone moaning in the classroom above him. As he approached, Harry heard Quirrell’s voice.

“Don’t—don’t—please don’t again…”

It sounded like someone was threatening him. Harry moved closer.

“All right—all right…” he heard Quirrell sob.

In the next second, Quirrell rushed out of the classroom while straightening his turban. Her face was pale and she seemed to be on the verge of tears. Quirrell didn’t even look at Harry. Harry waited until the sound of Quirrell’s footsteps had died away, then peered into the classroom. It was empty, but there was a door slightly ajar at the other end. Harry was halfway to the door when he remembered his promise to himself not to interfere in other people’s business.

Even so, he was willing to bet twelve Philosopher’s Stones that Snape had just left the room, and from what he had just heard, Snape must have been walking with light steps—presumably Quirrell had finally given up.

Harry returned to the library. Hermione was helping Ron learn Astronomy by asking him questions. Harry told them what he had just heard.

“Snape did it, then!” Ron said. “If Quirrell had told him how to dispel the Anti-Dark Magic Charm…”

“But there’s still Fluffy,” said Hermione.

“Maybe Snape already knows how to get past Fluffy without asking Hagrid,” said Ron, looking at the thousands of books surrounding them. “I bet one of the books here will say how to get past the three-headed dog. So, what do we do, Harry?”

A glint of adventure shone again in Ron’s eyes. But Hermione answered before Harry could open his mouth.

“Go to Dumbledore. We should have done that a long time ago.

If we try to act alone, we will obviously be expelled.”

“But we have no proof !” said Harry. Quirrell was too scared to support us. Snape just said he didn’t know how the troll got in on Hallowe’en night and that he wasn’t anywhere near the third floor. Who do you think will be trusted, him or us? It’s no secret we hate him. Dumbledore will think we made it up to get Snape fired. Filch obviously won’t help us. He was a close friend of Snape’s, and in his opinion the more students expelled, the better. And don’t forget, we are not actually supposed to know about the rock or Fluffy. That would require a long explanation.”

Hermione seemed to be convinced, but Ron wasn’t. “If we investigate a little…”

“No,” said Harry dryly, “we’ve done too much probing and interfering.”

Harry pulled the map of Jupiter towards him and began to memorize the names of the moons.

The next morning, a letter was dropped on the breakfast table for Harry, Hermione, and Neville. The contents are all the same:

Your detention will take place at eleven tonight. Meet Mr Filch in the Entrance Hall.

Prof. M. McGonagall

In the excitement of so many points being deducted from Gryffindor, Harry had forgotten they still had to serve detention. He thought Hermione would complain that they would miss last night’s study time, but Hermione remained silent. Like Harry, he felt they deserved the punishment.

At eleven that evening they said goodbye to Ron in the common room and went into the Entrance Hall with Neville. Filch was already there—and so was Malfoy. Harry had also forgotten that Malfoy also got detention.

“Come with me,” said Filch, turning on the lights and leading them out. “Bet, after this you’ll think twice before breaking school rules, eh?” He grinned at them. “Oh yes… hard work and suffering are the best teachers, if you ask me… unfortunately they don’t use the same method of punishment anymore… hanging you by the wrists from the roof for several days, the chain is still in my room, I keep oiling it, who I know one time it will be needed again… OK, let’s go, and don’t try to run away, it’ll be worse for you.”

They crossed a dark field. Neville continued to sob. Harry wondered what the punishment would be for them. Must be something horrible, otherwise Filch wouldn’t be this happy.

The moon shone brightly, but the clouds that passed over it repeatedly made them walk in darkness. Ahead, Harry could see the lit-up windows of Hagrid’s hut. Then from a distance they heard a sound.

“Is that you, Filch? Hurry, I want to start.”

Harry’s spirits rose. If Hagrid were around, things wouldn’t be so bad. His relief must have shown on his face, for Filch said: “You thought you’d have a good time with that brute, didn’t you? Think again, boys—you’re going to be taken into the Forest and I’d be very wrong if I thought you’d all make it out in one piece.”

Hearing this, Neville groaned and Malfoy stopped walking.

“Forest?” he repeated, and his voice was not as arrogant as usual. “We can’t go there at night—there’s all sorts there—werewolves, I hear.”

Neville grabbed the sleeve of Harry’s robes and made a gagging sound.

“It’s your own fault, right?” said Filch, his voice hoarse with excitement. “Should have remembered that werewolf thing before breaking the rules, right?”

Hagrid walked towards them from the darkness, Fang following him. He carried his longbow, and a bag of arrows slung over his shoulder.

“It’s time,” he said. “I’ve been waiting half an hour. Are you okay, Harry, Hermione?”

“Don’t be too friendly with them, Hagrid,” said Filch coldly, “they’ll be punished.”

“That’s why you’re late, right?” Hagrid said to Filch, his brow furrowed. “You scolded them earlier, didn’t you? It’s not your obligation. Your task is complete. Let me take over now.”

“I’ll be back in the morning,” said Filch, “to collect who knows what’s left of them,” he added annoyingly, before finally turning and walking back to the castle, his lamp bobbing in the dark.

Malfoy now turned to Hagrid.

“I don’t want to go into the Forest,” he said, and Harry was pleased to hear the panic in his voice.

“You have to, if you want to stay at Hogwarts,” said Hagrid sternly. “You’ve made a mistake and now you have to pay.”

“But this is for the servant class, not for students. I thought we would be asked to write or something. If my father knew I was being punished like this, he would…”

”…told you that was how it was at Hogwarts,” growled Hagrid. “Write! What is the point? You’re going to do something useful, if you don’t want to, just get out. If you think your father would rather have you expelled, then just go back to the castle and pack your suitcase. Come on!”

Malfoy didn’t move. He glared at Hagrid, but then looked down.

“All right,” said Hagrid. “Now listen carefully, because what we are going to do tonight is dangerous and I don’t want anyone to take any chances. Come with me here first.”

He took them all the way to the edge of the Forest. Raising his lamp high, he pointed to a narrow, winding dirt road that disappeared among the huge, dark trees. The breeze blew their hair as they looked into the Forest.

“See there,” said Hagrid, “see that shiny thing on the ground? The silvery one? It’s unicorn blood . Inside was a unicorn that was badly injured by being bitten by something. This is the second time in a week. I found a dead unicorn last Wednesday. We’re going to look for that poor creature. Maybe we should put him out of his misery.”

“And what if whatever bit the unicorn finds us first?” said Malfoy, unable to keep the fear out of his voice.

“Nothing in the Forest will hurt you if you’re with me or Fang,” said Hagrid. ”And follow this path. OK, now we split into two groups and we follow the trail in two different directions. There are bloodstains everywhere, at least the unicorn has been wandering around in pain since last night.”

“I want to be with Fang,” said Malfoy quickly, looking at Fang’s long teeth.

“Okay, but I warn you, he’s a coward,” said Hagrid. “So me, Harry and Hermione will go one way, while Draco, Neville and Fang will go the other way. Well, if one of us finds the unicorn , we’ll send green sparks, okay? Get out your wands and practice now—good—and if anyone gets into trouble, send a red spark, and we’ll all come looking for you—so, be careful—let’s go.”

The forest is dark and silent. Soon the dirt road forked. Harry, Hermione, and Hagrid went to the left, while Malfoy, Neville, and Fang went to the right.

They walked in silence, keeping their eyes on the ground. Occasionally a ray of moonlight penetrated the branches of the trees above,

illuminating silvery blue bloodstains on fallen leaves.

Harry saw that Hagrid looked very worried.

” Could it be that werewolves killed these unicorns ?” Harry asked.

“Not fast enough,” said Hagrid. “It’s not easy to catch a unicorn , they are magical creatures with extraordinary powers. I’ve never seen a unicorn injured before.”

They passed a mossy tree stump. Harry could hear the water flowing. There must be a river nearby. There were still spots of unicorn blood here and there along the winding road.

“Are you okay, Hermione?” Hagrid whispered. “Don’t worry, he can’t go far if his wounds are this bad and then we can go BACK THAT TREE!”

Hagrid grabbed Harry and Hermione and pulled them behind a large oak tree. He pulled an arrow and attached it to his bow, ready to launch. The three listened. Something slid across the fallen leaves nearby. It sounded like a robe dragging on the ground. Hagrid squinted at the dark street, but after a few seconds the sound grew distant.

“I know,” Hagrid muttered. ”There’s something here that shouldn’t be there.”

“Werewolves?” Harry suggested.

“It’s not a werewolf and it’s not a unicorn either,” said Hagrid grimly. ”Okay, follow me, but be careful now.”

They walk more slowly, straining their ears to catch even the faintest sound. Suddenly, in the open field in front of them, something clearly moved.

“Who’s that?” Hagrid shouted. ”Show yourself. I’m armed!”

And into the clearing came forth—was it a man or a horse? Up to his waist he was human, with red hair and beard, but below that the body of a shiny brown horse, with a long reddish tail. Harry and Hermione gaped.

“Oh, it’s you, Ronan,” said Hagrid with relief. “How are you?” Hagrid stepped forward and shook the centaur’s hand.

“Good evening, Hagrid,” said Ronan. His voice was deep and sad. “Did you want to shoot me?”

“There’s no harm in being careful, Ronan,” said Hagrid, stroking his bow. “There is something evil running wild in this Forest. This is Harry Potter and Hermione Granger. Hogwarts students. And this is Ronan, kids. He’s a centaur.”

“We saw,” said Hermione weakly.

“Good evening,” said Ronan. “You’re students, right? Did you learn much at school?”


“A little,” said Hermione shyly.

“A little. “Well, not bad,” Ronan sighed. He looked up, looking at the sky. “Mars is bright tonight.”

“Yeah,” said Hagrid, looking up as well. “Look, I’m glad we met you, Ronan, because there’s a wounded unicorn —did you see anything?”

Ronan didn’t answer immediately. He looked up without blinking, then sighed again.

“The innocent are always the victims first,” he said. “That’s how it was for centuries, and that’s how it is now.”

“Yeah,” said Hagrid, “but have you seen anything, Ronan? Amazing?”

“Mars is bright tonight,” Ronan repeated as Hagrid looked at him impatiently. “Incredibly bright.”

“Yeah, but I mean something closer to the ground,” said Hagrid. “So you didn’t see anything out of the ordinary?”

Again, it took a moment for Ronan to answer. Finally he said, “This forest hides many secrets.”

Movement in the trees behind Ronan made Hagrid raise his bow again, but it was only a second centaur, black in body and hair, and wilder looking than Ronan.

“Hello, Bane,” said Hagrid. “Are you okay?”

“Good evening, Hagrid. I hope you’re okay.”

“Pretty good. Look, I was just asking Ronan, have you seen anything strange around here lately?”

Bane came forward to stand next to Ronan. He looked up at the sky. “Mars is bright tonight,” was all he said.

“We’ve heard,” said Hagrid irritably. “If you see anything, let me know, okay? We’ll go again now.”

Harry and Hermione followed Hagrid out of the clearing, turning to look at Ronan and Bane several times, until the trees blocked their view.

“Never,” said Hagrid irritably, “try to get a straight answer from a centaur. Fanatical stargazer. Not interested in anything closer than the moon.”

”Are there many centaurs here?” asked Hermione.

“Oh, quite a lot… Grouped with their own kind, mostly, but they’re willing to show up if I need to talk. They are thinkers, those centaurs… they know a lot… just don’t talk much.”

“Do you think what we heard earlier, before we met Ronan, was a centaur?” Harry asked.

“Does that sound like horse hooves to you? No, I think that was the one that killed the unicorn —never heard of anything like that.”

They continued walking through the dense and dark trees. Harry looked back several times worriedly. He had an uneasy feeling that they were being watched. He was glad Hagrid and his bow were with them. They had just turned the corner when Hermione grabbed Hagrid by the arm.

”Hagrid! Look! Red sparks, others are in danger!”

“You two wait here!” Hagrid shouted. “Stay on this road, I’ll be back later!”

They heard a rustling sound as Hagrid pushed his way through the undergrowth. The two looked at each other, so scared, that they couldn’t hear anything except the rustling of the leaves around them.

“Do you think they were hurt?” whispered Hermione.

“I don’t care if Malfoy gets hurt, but if something happens to Neville… it’s our fault he’s here.”

The minutes passed slowly. Their ears feel sharper than usual. Harry thought he could hear every sigh of wind, every crack of twigs. What happened? Where are the others?

Finally, a loud rustling sound signaled Hagrid’s return. Malfoy, Neville, and Fang were with him. Hagrid was furious. Malfoy apparently secretly ambushed Neville from behind, just to joke. Neville panicked and sent sparks flying.

“We’ll be lucky if we can catch anything now, after all the noise you made. OK, let’s change groups—Neville, you with me and Hermione. Harry, you go with Fang and this idiot. Sorry,” Hagrid added in a whisper to Harry, “but he’ll have a harder time scaring you, and we’ve got to get this over with.”

So Harry headed into the middle of the Forest with Malfoy and Fang. They walked for almost half an hour, deeper and deeper into the forest, until the dirt road was almost impossible to follow because the trees were so dense. Harry thought his blood seemed to be getting thicker. There was a splash at the roots of a tree, as if the poor creature was twisting in pain nearby. Through a gap between the branches of an old oak tree, Harry could see the clearing in front of them.

“Look…,” he muttered, holding out a hand to stop Malfoy.

Something bright white glittered on the ground. They inched closer.

It turns out it was indeed a unicorn , and he was dead. Harry had never seen anything so beautiful and so sad. Her long slender legs stuck out awkwardly where she had fallen and her sparkling white mane hung like pearls over the dark leaves.

Harry had taken a step closer to him when a sliding sound froze him in place. The bushes at the edge of the clearing shook… Then, from the shadows of darkness, a hooded figure emerged, crawling on the ground like an animal approaching its prey. Harry, Malfoy, and Fang stood stunned. The hooded figure had arrived beside the unicorn , lowered its head towards the wound on the unicorn’s side , and began slurping its blood.


Malfoy screamed in horror and ran away—and so did Fang. The hooded figure raised his head and looked straight at Harry

—unicorn blood dripped down the front of his body. He stood up and walked quickly towards Harry – Harry couldn’t move because he was so scared.

Then pain shot through his head. Harry had never felt such pain, as if his scar was burning – he was half blind,

he staggered backwards. He heard the sound of horse hooves behind him, galloping, and something leapt over him, lunging at the figure.

The pain in Harry’s head became unbearable, he fell to his knees. A minute or two later the pain disappeared. When Harry looked up, the figure had disappeared. Centaur stood in front of him. Not Ronan or Bane. This one looks younger, his hair is blonde and his horse’s body is white.

“Are you okay?” asked the centaur as he helped Harry up. “Yes—thank you—what was that?”

The centaur did not answer. Her blue eyes were extraordinary, like pale sapphires. He looked at Harry carefully, his eyes lingering for a long time on the visible black and gray scar on Harry’s forehead.

“You’re Harry Potter,” he said. “You’d better go back to Hagrid. The woods aren’t safe right now—especially for you. Can you ride a horse? So it’s faster.

“My name is Firenze,” he added as he bent his front legs, kneeling, so Harry could climb onto his back.

Suddenly there was more hoofbeats from the other side of the clearing. Ronan and Bane emerged from behind the trees, panting and sweating.

”Firenze!” boomed Bane. “What are you doing? There’s a human on your back! You really don’t know any shame. Are you a normal pack mule?”

“Do you realize who this is?” Firenze said. “This is Harry Potter. The sooner he leaves this forest the better.”

“What did you tell him?” Bane growled. “Remember, Firenze, we are sworn not to interfere in the affairs of heaven. Haven’t we read what will happen to the movements of the planets?”

Ronan pawed at the ground restlessly.

“I’m sure Firenze did what he thought was best,” said Ronan in his sad voice.

Bane jerked his hind legs furiously.

“The best! What does it have to do with us? Centaurus deals with what has been prophesied! It’s not our job to roam around like donkeys, rescuing humans lost in our Forests!”

Firenze suddenly stood up on his hind legs in a fit of rage, so Harry had to hold on to his shoulder to keep from falling.

“Didn’t you see the unicorn ?” Firenze shouted at Bane. “Don’t you understand why he was killed? Or do the planets not tell you the secret? I will fight what lurks in these woods, Bane, yes, with humans if necessary.”

And Florence turned; with Harry gripping his shoulders as best he could, they squeezed through the trees, leaving Ronan and Bane behind them.

Harry didn’t understand what was happening at all.

“Why is Bane so angry?” he asked. “What creature did you save me from?”

Firenze slowed his running until he was finally walking, warning Harry to duck so he wouldn’t hit any low branches, but didn’t answer his question. They walked through the trees in silence for so long that Harry thought Firenze didn’t want to talk to him anymore. They were passing through very dense trees, when Firenze suddenly stopped.

“Harry Potter, do you know what unicorn blood is used for?”

“No,” Harry answered, surprised at the strange question. “We only use the horns and tail hair in Potions class.”

“That’s because killing a unicorn is a very cruel act,” said Firenze. “Only people who have nothing to lose, but even a lot to gain, would commit such crimes. Unicorn blood will keep you alive, even if you’re just an inch from death, but the price to pay is terrible. You have killed something pure and helpless to save yourself and you will only be half alive, a damned life, once the unicorn’s blood touches your lips.”

Harry stared at the back of Firenze’s head, which gleamed silver in the moonlight.

“But who is so desperate?” he asked. “If you’re going to be cursed forever, it’s better to die, right?”

“Indeed,” said Firenze, “except all you need is to survive long enough to drink something else—something that will restore your full strength and power—something that

means you won’t be able to die. Mr Potter, do you know what is being hidden in the school right now?”

“Miracle stone! Of course—Fluid of Life! But I don’t understand who…”

“Did you ever think of someone who had waited so many years to return to power, who had survived, waiting for an opportunity?”

It was as if an iron hand had suddenly gripped Harry’s heart. Over the sound of the rustling leaves, it was as if he heard again what Hagrid had said the night they first met: “Someone said he was dead. Nonsense, I think. Don’t know if there’s enough human left in his body to die.”

“You mean,” said Harry hoarsely, “that was Vol… ” “Harry! Harry, are you okay?”

Hermione ran towards them, Hagrid panting behind her. “I’m fine,” said Harry, barely understanding what he was saying. ” His unicorn died, Hagrid, in the clearing out back

very much.”

“It’s time for me to leave you,” Firenze muttered as Hagrid hurried to check on the unicorn . “You’re safe now.”

Harry slid off his back.

“Good luck, Harry Potter,” said Firenze. “The planets have been interpreted wrongly before, even by centaurs. I hope this is one of those mistakes.”

Firenze turned and strode back into the Forest, leaving Harry trembling behind him.

Ron fell asleep in the dark common room, waiting for them to come home. He was delirious, shouting something about a foul in a Quidditch match when Harry shook him hard, waking him. Within seconds his eyes were wide open as Harry began to tell him and Hermione about what had happened in the Forest.

Harry couldn’t sit up. He paced back and forth in front of the fireplace. He was still shaking.

“Snape wanted the Philosopher’s Stone for Voldemort… and Voldemort was waiting in the Forest… and all this time we thought Snape just wanted to get rich…”

“Don’t say that name again!” whispered Ron fearfully, as if he thought Voldemort could hear them.

Harry didn’t listen.

“Firenze saved me, but he shouldn’t have… Bane was furious… he said they shouldn’t have interfered with what the planets had predicted… The planets must have shown that Voldemort would return… Bane thought Firenze should have let Voldemort kill me… I think that it is also written in the stars.”

“Don’t mention that name again!” Ron hissed.

“So now I just have to wait for Snape to steal the stone,” said Harry tensely. “Then Voldemort could come and finish me off… Well, I think Bane would be happy.”

Hermione looked terrified, but she comforted Harry.

“Harry, everyone says Dumbledore is the only person You-Know-Who is afraid of. If Dumbledore was around, You-Know-Who wouldn’t touch you. After all, who said centaurs were right? It sounds like divination to me, and Professor McGonagall says it’s the most imprecise branch of magic.”

The sky had already turned bright before they stopped talking. They went to bed exhausted, their throats sore. But the evening’s surprises weren’t over yet.

When Harry pulled back the covers of his bed, he found his Invisibility Cloak underneath. There was a paper pinned to the robe, with the following message:

Who knew it was necessary.

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