>> Tuesday, November 29, 2011
"I don't want to break rules, you know. I think threatening Muggle-borns is far worse than brewing up a difficult potion. But if you don't want to find out if it's Malfoy, I'll go straight to Madame Pince and hand the book back in-"
"I never thought I'd see the day when you'd be persuading us to break rules," said Ron.
"So Dobby stopped us from getting on the train and broke your arm..." He shook his head. "You know what, Harry? If he doesn't stop trying to save your life he's going to kill you."
"He sounds like Percy," said Ron, wrinkling his nose in disgust. "Prefect, Head Boy...probably top of every class-"
"You say that like it's a bad thing," said Hermione in a slightly hurt voice.
"But why's she got to go to the library?"
"Because that's what Hermione does," said Ron, shrugging. "When in doubt, go to the library."
Harry and Ron walked away, hardly daring to believe that they'd avoided detention. As they turned the corner, they distinctly heard Professor McGonagall blow her nose.
"That," said Ron fervently, "was the best story you've ever come up with."
"I seem to remember telling you both that I would have to expel you if you broke any more school rules," said Dumbledore.
Ron opened his mouth in horror.
"Which goes to show that the best of us must sometimes eat our words," Dumbledore went on, smiling.
"It only put me in Gryffindor," said Harry in a defeated voice, "because I asked not to go in Slytherin..."
"Exactly," said Dumbledore, beaming once more. "Which makes you very different from Tom Riddle. It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
Harry didn't know whether the best bit was Hermione running toward him, screaming "You solved it! You solved it!" or Justin hurrying over from the Hufflepuff table to wring his hand and apologize endlessly for suspecting him, or Hagrid turning up at half past three, cuffing Harry and Ron so hard on the shoulders that they were knocked from their plates of trifle, or his and Ron's four hundred points for Gryffindor securing the House Cup for the second year running, or Professor McGonagall standing up to tell them all that the exams had been canceled ("Oh, no!" said Hermione) or Dumbledore announcing that, unfortunately, Professor Lockhart would be unable to return next year, owing to the fact that he needed to go away and get his memory back.
Quite a few teachers joined in the cheering that greeted this news.
"Shame," said Ron, helping himself to a jam doughnut. "He was starting to grow on me."
"Well--Percy's got a girlfriend."
Fred dropped a stack of books on George's head. "What?"
"It's that Ravenclaw prefect, Penelope Clearwater," said Ginny. "That's who he was writing to all last summer. He's been meeting her all over the school in secret. I walked in on them kissing in an empty classroom one day. He was so upset when she was--you know--attacked. You won't tease him, will you?" she added anxiously.
"Wouldn't dream of it," said Fred, who was looking like his birthday had come early.
"Definitely not," said George, sniggering.