Grazhir :: Harry Potter :: One Winged Angel :: 23 :: Jealousy

23 • Jealousy

Harry gazed at his collection of discs, those that Tom normally used for illegal portkeys, and smiled. Granted, it had taken some time for him to get the hang of the spell, and he had actually destroyed a number of them in the process, but in the end he had what he wanted. Tom had even shown him how to modify them, once enspelled, so that they could accept a chain to be worn.

All that needed to be done further was to use a simple incising charm to etch the front face of each with whatever the wearer might wish. Harry had already done his own, having chosen an image of Hedwig. He had considered a snake, but felt that it said a little more about himself than he was willing to admit to, even in such an obscure way.

Tom had made his own set, just the two, and had sent one off with Dobby to be delivered to Snape. He had incised his with a stylized flame, which had made Harry chortle in amusement. They had also gone over the Disillusionment Charm. All in all, Harry felt like it had been a day well spent, and it was not yet over.

Dobby had once again supplied them with a meal, dinner, and cleaned up afterward, leaving them alone again.

“Harry,” Tom said quietly, “do you feel like telling me about the irony of human nature and the downfall of man?”

Harry wrested his gaze away from the discs and transferred it to the fire. “In a nutshell? Intelligence. Somehow humans developed far beyond that of most creatures, but unlike some, we never learned how to integrate that with instinct. We never learned when to let intellect step in and tell us that instinct isn’t always wise. I honestly think that we developed too quickly. Then again, I have to wonder at times if war is nature’s way of thinning the herd. After all, we have developed so many ways to kill off everything else that we have no true natural enemy but ourselves.

“I would like to think that intelligence should carry with it duty and responsibility, but it seems that isn’t the case. Instead of using that gift to find ways to get along, people use it to find more inventive ways to kill each other, just as though they were beasts in the forest or fields. I’m not saying that no good comes of it, but I think, sometimes, that the balance is skewed. We hunt for sport, not because we require sustenance. In some ways we are more barbaric than our ancestors, and just as cruel.

“Intelligence is a double-edged sword, and quite frankly, I think humans as a whole act more like children than anything else. And, as you’ve said, mob mentality is a dangerous thing. Mobs don’t have intelligence, individuals do. We’ve outgrown some of our instincts, but our bodies and brains haven’t caught up to that fact.”

Harry looked over and brushed the hair back from his forehead. “Actually, have you ever heard of Sheri Tepper?”

“I can’t say that I have.”

“I used to spend time in the library when I was younger. Made it easier to stay away from Dudley. She wrote a book, , that you might enjoy reading. I know it ties into mythology, but I think it also explains some of what I think, or maybe even why I think certain things. Granted, the book itself has a lot to do with the differences between men and women, but what I’m trying to say is there. It’s also rather Slytherin if you look at it right.”

Tom gave him an interested look and nodded. “I’ll look into it, then. I do think I see what you mean, however. Of course, morality, an invention of humans, also plays a part.”

“Well, yes. But part of the problem is that humans form separate societies, separate cultures. What’s acceptable in one country is not in another, and that often leads to disputes and even war. At least in wizarding society it’s fairly straightforward, good vs. evil, though you and I both know it isn’t quite that simple. Unfortunately, we as a society still suffer from many of the issues that plague the muggle world, such as prejudice, bigotry, crime, and corruption.”

“Perspective,” said Tom.

Harry smiled slightly and nodded. “Actually, I have a very odd question for you.”

“Yes?”

“Are you an artist of any kind?”

Tom gave him a quizzical look. “An artist?”

“You know. Painting, music, sculpture. . . .”

Tom glanced at the floor. “Well, I admit that I did once feel the urge toward jewelry smithing. Why?”

Harry smiled again and arched one brow. “Curious. So, any plans for this evening?”

Tom frowned and stared. “Harry, why did you—why are you changing the subject?”

“I wonder how I’d look with longer hair,” Harry said softly. “Do you like long hair, Tom?”

“Harry,” Tom said sternly.

Harry grinned and slung a leg over the arm of his chair. “Why, Tom, I thought I would let you figure out the meaning behind the question. Isn’t it more fun that way? After all, I like to try to figure out the meaning behind the things you say.” He smirked and tilted his head back. It was nice to be able to play the game in reverse for once, and he wondered how long it would take, if ever, for Tom to make the connection. After all, Nero had fiddled, Hitler had aspirations of being an artist. Of course, it might be a completely specious theory. Who knew?

Tom’s eyes appeared to glitter for a moment, then a slow smile spread across his mouth. “All right, Harry. Moving on, yes, I do like long hair, and no, I hadn’t planned anything in particular for this evening. After all, we have been working steadily most of the day.”

“Mm. Tom, what are we going to do for wands? It seems to me that when Voldemort and the Boy Who Lived die, our current wands would more than likely have to be left at the scene.”

Tom did a slight double take, then frowned. “You’re doing it again.”

“Doing what?”

“Outsmarting me.” Tom gave him a disgruntled look. “But you’re right. It is something we need to consider as I have absolutely no intention of living the remainder of my life as a muggle.”

“So it’s not true that a person can only have one true wand.” Harry had long suspected that some had more than one, aurors perhaps, but had never bothered to ask about it. And, of course, Sirius had got his hands on one sometime after he had escaped.

Tom shook his head. “Consider this. While I have no doubt that Ollivander is a great wand maker, I do doubt that he or any other of his profession are presentient. If there were only one true wand for a person, what happens if it was made in another country? No, I don’t believe it.”

“How do we get new wands, then?”

“I’ll call in some favors. I’ll also see about finding some books on the subject. Generally that kind of information is kept within families, where children apprentice to their parents in the art, but I can manage something, I’m sure.”

“Do you think the fangs from the basilisk might be of any use to us? Or would Professor Snape already have found a way to use them in some potion or other?”

“An interesting question, Harry, given that basilisks are magical creatures,” Tom replied thoughtfully. After a moment he wrote out a short note and handed it to Dobby when he appeared for delivery.

“At any rate, you might be interested to know that Malfoy has been bending Severus’s ear with his complaints about you.”

Harry laughed and said, “I hope that Snape is holding up well, then. I don’t think I’d be very happy in his position.”

“Yes, well, he can be extremely useful if you’re able to figure out where he’s been making his plans. As it is, Severus will be making the implication that Dumbledore was stupid enough to allow Voldemort’s plan for getting you into Slytherin to work.”

Harry laughed again, then stabbed a finger at the map. “Interesting. Now why would Malfoy be lurking in Fluffy’s chamber?”

“With. . . . Do you recognize those names?”

Harry pursed his lips, tilting his head to one side. “Ravenclaws, I think. Well, I guess this makes sense. Malfoy couldn’t very well meet people of other houses inside Slytherin.” He looked up and smiled. “You can obtain more portraits.”

“Of course. I’m very curious to know what the brat is up to. I can only assume that there isn’t a portrait there presently, but one never knows. Dobby will need to be discreet when he goes there to place a serpent, just in case.”

Harry nodded and rose only to crawl into Tom’s lap and settle himself comfortably. “Yes, and wouldn’t it be interesting to find out that Dumbledore doesn’t have a clue what’s going on? Then again, why should that surprise me? He’s already fallen for my acting skills. Do you think he’s on a constant sugar high? Or laces those sweets with something?”

“Are you implying that he’s a drug addict?”

“I never said that,” Harry protested, “but I have to wonder. It’s unnatural to be that pushy about sweets, don’t you think?”

Tom made a noncommittal noise so Harry buried his face in Tom’s neck, quietly inhaling that unique scent, then smiled as hands came to rest on his hips. “You know, you could just move in here, but I guess that would mean relying on Dobby a lot for transportation. Unless . . . there’s an outside entrance?”

“I don’t know,” came Tom’s soft voice. “I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t know any of this was here, Harry, so there may well be. And if so, your idea may be quite nice. I would think if there is an outside entrance that it too must be controlled by a Parseltongue password.”

“Tom Riddle was brilliant, but not very smart?” Harry breathed into Tom’s neck.

The answer was a soft laugh, then, “More like not thinking straight, not thinking expansively. A little too focused, you could say.”

“Well, the only entity who should be able to get here, besides us and Dobby, would be Fawkes. Do you think he would betray me to get at you?”

“No, Harry, I don’t. Despite being linked to the headmaster, he would know your heart. I do not think Fawkes would cause you grief. He might even protect you from a master who cannot bring himself to understand. It may have been your loyalty at the time to Dumbledore that called Fawkes to your aid, but I think even now he would assist you.”

“I hope you’re right. I rather like Fawkes, and he did save my life. I would hate for him to consider me his enemy.”

“Well, I shall act on your thoughts and do further exploration of this place. For the moment, however, I have something better to do.”

“And what is that?” Harry asked.

“Spend time with you, of course,” Tom said.

Harry smiled against Tom’s neck, then kissed the warm skin, gradually working his way up and over so that he could capture Tom’s lips with his own. He shifted the position of his legs to gain leverage and began to rock gently, teasingly.

*

Dear Harry,

I knew you could do better. That was a very good letter, I must say. Mind you, I am now quite curious as to what questions you may have, but unfortunately those will need to wait until a more opportune time. You are quite right in that respect. Also unfortunate is that I will be unable to come visit you for some time.

While it distresses me to hear that so many are unable to accept what happened, perhaps it is for the best in some ways. Surely if your group reforms with fewer people, you will be able to trust them more deeply than before, they having shown you unequivocally their belief in you. On a related note, I am glad to hear that you’ve found a friend in Slytherin. There is little surprise in that to my mind, as you do seem to have a way of drawing people to you without trying.

Yes, I do understand what you’re saying about your friends, even if it’s from a slightly different perspective. I can relate to some degree with Hermione, though I do not think I was ever quite that pedantic. Still, I tempered my reactions and inclinations to some degree based on my possibly erroneous belief that my other nature would cause my friends to distance themselves.

In any case, I’m very glad to hear that your studies are going well. I did enjoy Arithmancy and Ancient Runes, by the way. There is a list on the back of this letter of books you might wish to owl order. Start with the first for each subject, and if you find those appealing, get the rest.

I did see the Daily Prophet story. To be frank, it made me laugh. I believe you have better sense than to be snogging someone in the Astronomy tower of all places, especially knowing of your very marked dislike of attention. What sense is there in having a private room if you don’t use it when the object of your affections is in your house? And, for the record, I would not have cared were it true, though I would have hoped you would introduce us. You did call me your uncle, after all.

At any rate, I am glad to hear that you are doing well, and that your time has been fairly untroubled but for a few minor incidents. Keep a close eye out, Harry, and don’t let your guard down, even there.

Love,
Moony

:Well, I think he got the hints,: Harry sent as he folded the letter and slipped it back into the envelope.

:I agree. I think it will be interesting when he is able to come visit you. For your sake, though, I hope it will not be a very long wait.:

Harry shrugged and slipped the letter into his rucksack. :Well, if our lessons go well enough, then perhaps I can have already talked to Ron. About the prophecy, anyway, and a few other things. If that goes well, I think I’d be more confident when it comes to Moony, even if that didn’t go as well.:

As he reached in to pull out one of his early Potions texts Tom sent, :That makes sense given some of your earlier statements.:

:You know, I have to wonder why Snape tried to teach me the way he did. I can’t ask him, I know that, but still. It’s like he skipped over everything I should have started with and went straight to the offensive. I can’t tell if it was some kind of backward compliment or anger getting in the way. I am learning properly now, though, and that’s what matters.:

:I would not dwell on it, Harry. There may come a day when he may tell you willingly, but there’s no sense in waiting for something that might not ever happen.:

:All right. By the way, had you planned anything for Halloween this year?:

:No. I thought it might be nice to give it a rest. I have been far too, shall we say, stuck in a rut as far as certain dates are concerned. It may well be that lack of activity on that occasion may throw Dumbledore off balance a little.:

Harry snickered softly. :I’d love to see that. Assuming I’ve been playing my role correctly, he’s probably feeling quite secure these days, though it does make me wonder if the fiasco of Occlumency lessons made it so that my mind would be wide open to visions I could report.:

:Ah, but Lord Voldemort is very aware of that connection and has occluded his mind tightly so that you, my dear spy, cannot forewarn the headmaster of his activities.:

:Sneaky little devil. I almost feel a grudging respect for the old goat.:

:Little? I do believe I am offended by that.:

Harry grinned at the manufactured indignation he could sense and shook his head slightly. :You quibble over that instead of the term goat? My goodness, Tom. And here I am reminded by my own screwy sense of humor of Dumbledore’s brother and his penchant for inappropriate charms on goats.:

Amusement exploded into him, and Harry knew Tom was laughing wherever he was.

*

Things were, Harry thought, going quite well considering. The reformed DA was managing to practice twice weekly and there was none of the previous bother associated with quidditch practice schedules as it was only Gryffindor they needed to worry about. Harry had taken to spending an hour or two most evenings reading from either the Chamber library or from the selection of books that Blaise had asked for.

From those endeavors he had drawn up a list of likely spells they should consider learning, some of which were well beyond the norm taught at Hogwarts, and they had been steadily working their way through them. It was, perhaps, a great shock to Hermione that Harry had been the one to provide them with their signals rather than herself, and before she had had a chance to bring the subject up.

Harry had simply shrugged, smiled sheepishly, and gone straight into a discussion of the list he had managed to write at that point. As it stood, they had just finished one of their meetings when Harry asked Ron if he would be willing to take a walk with him before heading back to the tower.

“Sure, Harry, but nothing too strenuous.”

Hermione gave a small sniff of disapproval before striding off through the door, for once not lecturing anyone on the importance of study, revision, or anything else. The others soon followed with the exception of Blaise, who had stayed back per earlier request.

“Er, what’s up?” Ron asked after glancing at Blaise.

“Well, I didn’t want a walk so much as to talk to you, but I really don’t want to do that here. I thought, if you’re willing, Blaise and I could sneak you into Slytherin so we could talk in my room, and when you’re ready to go, he’ll help sneak you back out.” Harry reached into his bag and pulled, revealing a section of silvery material, then glanced at Ron inquiringly.

“Just to talk?” Ron said in disbelief, then shook his head. “Right, mate. Hand it over.”

Harry exhaled in relief and pulled his invisibility cloak out fully, handing it to Ron a moment later. As soon as his friend disappeared from view he said quietly, “Okay, just stick right behind us. If there’s a problem, make a hissing noise, and if possible, keep a hand on my shoulder so I know you’re there.”

A soft snort issued from thin air.

“Right, let’s go, then,” said Harry, then exited the room, waiting long enough for Blaise to come up beside him and for Ron to shadow their backs.

*

Blaise winked as he shut the door, leaving them alone. A second later Ron appeared, a slight scowl marring his features. “Nice room,” he commented as he laid the cloak over one of the chairs.

“Yeah. I thought it was huge, but Blaise seemed to think it was pretty normal. Definitely different for people like you and me,” Harry said, trying to subtly play up the similarities between Ron and himself. “I’m still not used to it.”

“How d’you keep Malfoy and the others out, then?” Ron asked with a slightly suspicious look in his direction.

“Another house perk. Each door can only be opened by their occupant, though I guess Snape can open any of them. The same applies to the dorms, though prefects can also get into any of those. I’m not too worried, though, and I did find and teach myself a revealing spell so I can see who’s knocking. I only ever let Blaise in,” he responded, flopping into a chair.

“So what did you want to talk about? I hardly think you brought me here to watch me get jealous.”

Harry half smirked, half grinned. Considering Ron’s behavior of late, his friend’s comment wasn’t entirely unexpected. “No, I didn’t. I expected that you’d feel as odd as I did when I walked in here the first time. But it reminds me of the first time I walked into the Burrow. I was amazed, and jealous.”

Ron gave a soft snort. Five long minutes passed before Ron finally said, “Jealous.”

“Of course. It’s the first time I’d ever seen a friend’s home for one thing, and it was magical, amazing, and exciting. More than I could have dreamed of, and it was a place where you belonged, where you had a family who cared about you, worried about you. . . .”

“Surely the Dursleys aren’t that bad,” Ron said uncomfortably.

Harry tilted his head to the side and said, “Ron, do you have to do chores at home?”

Ron blinked, then nodded.

“Such as?”

“Er, well, de-gnoming the garden, keeping my room relatively tidy. . . .”

Harry started ticking chores off on his fingers. “Cooking, washing up, cleaning the house, gardening, laundry, fetching the mail, and whatever else they could think up. Now, don’t think I’m asking for any pity, Ron. I wouldn’t accept it if you tried. I am trying to make a point, though, and get you to understand what I saw when I first saw your home, and in it, your family. So yes, I was a bit jealous. Of course, what did you do? Share it, all of it. Your home, your family, everything. And do you know what really brasses me off, Ron?”

Ron shifted in his chair and shook his head.

“What really gets me is that you think so little of it, and think so little of having shared that with me. You’ve managed to give me something I’ve always longed for, and you think it’s nothing.”

“Well, you are my best friend, mate. I kind of think of you like a brother.”

Harry nodded. “Likewise. That’s sort of the point, though. Now I know to you that your home and family is pretty normal, but to me it’s a godsend. That brings me to the next thing that really pisses me off. You won’t let me, your best friend and member of your family, share what I have with you. In fact, you get defensive and snarly.”

Ron scowled at him, then said, “You’re talking about money.”

“Yeah. Why can’t I share with you the only thing I own? I’d give you just about anything, but when I try, you start muttering about it being charity or some rubbish like that. Am I wrong when I think that if you came into money that you’d share it with me without thinking?”

Ron did not answer for some time, and when he did his voice was curiously flat. “Yes, I would. But”—he paused for a moment—“what do you mean, just about anything?”

Harry quirked up one brow and smiled. “My photo album for one. My broom, because of Sirius. And, my cloak, because of dad. Of course, I’m fairly sure you wouldn’t want my clothes. Even I don’t want them.”

Ron smiled briefly, then let out a heavy sigh. “All right. I think I get your point. I’ll expect to hear from Gringotts next week that you’ve made me rich.”

Harry laughed. “I went to Gringotts during the summer and found out something interesting, Ron. I have enough money to last me through school and a few years past that if I live modestly.”

Ron sat up straight and scowled again. “You went to Diagon Alley?”

“Yeah, Dumbledore escorted me to the bank. It was Remus who bought my things, though, since the headmaster thought it was too risky for me to spend any real time there. Actually, it was the morning of the day you arrived.”

“Harry, that doesn’t make any sense. The Potter line is ancient. How can you not have money?”

He shrugged.

:He is right, Harry.:

“Have you even seen your parents’ will?” Ron asked.

Harry furrowed his brow and shook his head. “Can’t say that I have, and that’s assuming they made one.”

:I will see what I can do to check.:

:That’s fine, but. . . . :

“Maybe it’s because you aren’t of age,” Ron mused.

:And what of your godfather? What of your dislike of the idea that if you did have money it could go to Dumbledore?:

“That’s something to consider,” he said, knowing Tom would understand it was for him also. He glanced at Ron and continued, “In any case, how much money I have wasn’t my point, though I’d set you up if I had enough for the both of us.”

Ron shook his head and for a moment Harry felt tendrils of anger. “You would, if I let you. Maybe even if I refused. I just think it’s odd that you aren’t sure. We’re brothers, though not by blood, and I’m a stupid prat for thinking that money is more important than what I have already.”

“Er, you said that, not me. But yeah, sort of. I just want you to try to understand that I’ve had as much reason to envy you as you have me, even if I wouldn’t wish my fame on anyone, though perhaps I mean infamy. I want to know that I can trust you, that I can talk to you, and that you’ll think about things before you decide to get angry or run off and tell others. Merlin knows I was terrible last year and I took a lot of my anger out on you, and the others. I know that and I’m sorry for it, and I’ve been trying to direct my anger to where it rightfully belongs, not at whoever happens to be convenient at the time.”

Ron, who had been staring at him, blinked and said, “Okay. Some of what Hermione says does occasionally sink in, you know, which leads me to believe that there’s something you really want to tell me, but are afraid to.”

Harry blinked as well, then grinned. “You could say that, yes. I could ask that you swear a Wizard’s Oath. I could ask you to sign a magically binding contract. But I don’t want to. I want to believe, and know, that when I tell you things that you won’t go tell someone else no matter what it is. You must know how hard it is for me to trust people at this point when so many have no problem turning on me at the slightest provocation. I want to believe you’re the rock you’ve been so far this year. I want to believe I can count on you to hear me out and keep my secrets.”

“Harry, I said I’d stand by you and I will. I will try to curb my reactions, and I will keep your secrets.”

:He is sincere, Harry.:

Harry gave a mental sigh of relief and nodded. “Then prepare yourself, because this ties in with our little raid on the Department of Mysteries.” After a short pause with no reaction from Ron he said, “Remember how the prophecy sphere was smashed? Well, as it turns out, I know the person to whom it was originally spoken, and that person showed me their memory of the event. It was Dumbledore, and I have no idea what he would do if he found out I shared it with anyone. My question to you is, are you willing to take the risk of knowing it?”

“This is why you—when did he tell you?”

“About an hour or so after Sirius went through the veil,” he said, scowling.

“But why? Now that you know it, aren’t you in danger because of your . . . connection?”

“That’s what Occlumency is supposed to prevent, but I don’t think that’s what he originally had in mind when he asked me to learn it. You know my vision was false, a trap to lead me to the Ministry. If I had been able to master Occlumency last year, that wouldn’t have happened. Then again, I might not have seen your father being attacked, either, so I’m really not sure how to feel about a lot of what happened. My visions saved your dad, and believe me, I’m very happy Dumbledore listened to me, but it also meant I contributed to Sirius’s death.”

“You’re still taking lessons, though.”

Harry nodded. “I’m actually doing all right this time, and I know I can master it. I also haven’t been having nightmares or visions. I got a book on it so I could study on my own away from school.”

“Snape isn’t being a git is he?” Ron asked suspiciously.

“It’s a little different now with me in his house. I imagine it takes all the fun out of him taking points when it only hurts the house chances,” Harry said with a slight smile. “So, do you want to know, or would you rather not?”

“Why not tell Hermione?”

Harry shrugged and sighed. “She’s still been acting sort of funny for one thing. That, and I honestly have to wonder if she would go straight to Dumbledore, then tell me to do every last thing he says for my own protection.”

The corner of Ron’s mouth curled up, then relaxed. “I’ll hazard a guess and say you don’t entirely trust Dumbledore for some reason.”

“Apparently, Ron, life is more of a chess game than I ever imagined,” Harry replied evenly. He wasn’t entirely surprised when a look of anger flashed across his friend’s face.

“Do you think you would be able to teach me Occlumency?”

Apparently, his chess reference had helped to put Ron in the right frame of mind. “Yes. In fact, since I don’t need the book I got any longer, you can have it, though I think it ought to be charmed so that only you and I have any idea what it really is. On a brighter note, I think it will help you with your studies as well once you get the hang of it.”

“Then I suppose I should start learning. I would rather not know the prophecy just yet.”

*

“I think that went well.”

Harry sat back and looked into Tom’s eyes. “Yes, but I’m not sure I’d have dared if you weren’t here in hiding to assess his honesty.”

Tom grinned slightly. “Do I get a reward for my exceptionally good behavior?”

“Of course, and since I’m all yours tomorrow, I’m sure you can come up with something by then.”

“I have to wait?” Tom produced a patently false pout.

Harry nodded firmly. “Yes, you do. Just think, anticipation can be a boon in many ways.”

Tom rolled his eyes and tightened his grip on Harry’s hips. “I’ve created a monster.”

Harry smirked. “I don’t think so. You’re just seeing the real me, now that I’m able to be so.”

“Is that so,” Tom drawled. “Well then, you shall not mind in the least when I torture you tomorrow.”

“I’m sure I won’t,” Harry retorted, “and I’m sure it will give me many new ideas for the future. After all, you are an excellent teacher, and I can be an excellent student when I set my mind to it.”

Tom chuckled softly. “Indeed. So, back to business. I will put out ears on the matter of those wills. It may well be wise for us to delay the so-called final confrontation until after you reach your majority. If it is true that there is more to your inheritance than just the vault you’re aware of, you would do well to revise your will, and find ways to settle things more to your satisfaction.”

“Translation being, convince the goblins to hide the majority of my alleged fortune without anyone’s knowledge.”

“Exactly so, Harry. It is possible, however unlikely, that with Dumbledore as your magical guardian that he is very aware of the facts, and given that your will only covers the contents of your current vault, he may, in fact, be the sole beneficiary of anything and everything else.”

“I cannot allow that to happen,” Harry said calmly. “I assume, then, from what you’ve just said, that you have no objections to holding off on our ‘deaths’ until this matter is resolved.”

“Of course not. I know how much it would pain you for that old man to gain anything owing to your ignorance. If there is more to this than speculation, we will wait until after you are of age to finalize our plans. Severus will be likewise informed.”

Harry gave him a curious look. “Do you think, should Ron and Remus come on board, that they would be willing to assist us?”

“I would not be surprised. After all, should one or both of them be captured, surely a hot-headed Harry Potter would race off to rescue them, would he not?”

Harry grinned broadly.