Kreacher stopped in his tracks. Harry could just make out the back of his bald head through the forest of chair legs before him.
- CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE -
The . . . the weapon,' said Hermione.
'Very well,' she said in her most dangerous and falsely sweet voice. 'Very well, Mr Potter . . . I offered you the chance to tell me freely. You refused. I have no alternative but to force you. Draco
The garish kittens were basking in the late-afternoon sunshine that was warming their plates, but otherwise the office was as still and unoccupied as last time. Hermione breathed a sigh of relief.
'I mean, you can - can check whether Sirius is at home or not while I keep watch, I don't think you should be in there alone, Lee's already proved the windows a weak spot, sending those Nifflers through it.'
Snape gave her an ironic bow and turned to leave. Harry knew his last chance of letting the Order know what was going on was walking out of the door.
'Fine,' said Hermione, now sobbing into her hands again. Tine . . . let them see it, I hope they use it on you! In fact, I wish you'd invite loads and loads of people to come and see! Th - that would serve you right - oh, I'd love it if the wh - whole school knew where it was, and how to u - use it, and then if you annoy any of them they'll, be able to s - sort you out!'
'Undoubtedly I shall in the end,' said the cold voice. 'But you will fetch it for me first, Black . . . you think you have felt pain thus far? Think again . . . we have hours ahead of us and nobody to hear you scream . . .'
'A loud chorus of "Weasley is our King" if they see Umbridge coming,' replied Hermione, as Harry inserted the blade of Sirius's knife in the crack between door and wall. The lock clicked open and they entered the office.
Harry had no idea what Hermione was planning, or even whether she had a plan. He walked half a pace behind her as they headed down the corridor outside Umbridge's office, knowing it would look very suspicious if he appeared not to know where they were going. He did not dare attempt to talk to her; Umbridge was walking so closely behind them that he could hear her ragged breathing.
- CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE -
'What's the signal?' muttered Harry, as they approached Umbridge's door.
'And you two can go ahead of me and show me the way,' said Umbridge, pointing at Harry and Hermione with her wand. 'Lead on.'
'Well . . . you . . .' she looked more apprehensive than ever. 'I mean . . . last year, for instance . . . in the lake . . . during the Tournament . . . you shouldn't have . . . I mean, you didn't need to save that little Delacour girl . . . you got a bit . . . carried away . . .'
'Hermione, Harry's seen them!' said Ron, rounding on her.
'No one - ' said Harry, trying to pull away from her. He felt several hairs part company with his scalp.
Ginny raised her eyebrows.
'I want to know why you are in my office,' said Umbridge, shaking the fist clutching his hair so that he staggered.