Ron made a triumphant gesture with his fist and went into a raucous peal of laughter that made several timid-looking second-years over beside the window jump. A reluctant grin spread over Harry's face as he watched Ron rolling around on the hearthrug.
'You mean you dreamed this?'
Harry didn't quite know how to set about telling them, and still wasn't sure whether he wanted to. Just as he had decided not to say anything, Hermione took matters out of his hands.
He pretended to be straightening the cushion pile. He was quite sure they were alone now and waited for her to speak. Instead, he heard a hearty sniff.
'What are Nargles?'
'Er - Thestrals!' he said loudly. 'Big - er - winged horses, yeh know!'
'Mind yer own business!' said Hagrid, angrily. 'Now, if yeh've finished askin' stupid questions, follow me!'
Ron said nothing, but looked disgruntled. They sat in silence for another twenty minutes, Ron finishing his Transfiguration essay with many snorts of impatience and crossings-out, Hermione writing steadily to the very end of the parchment, rolling it up carefully and sealing it, and Harry staring into the fire, wishing more than anything that Sirius's head would appear there and give him some advice about girls. But the fire merely crackled lower and lower, until the red-hot embers crumbled into ash and, looking around, Harry saw that they were, yet again, the last ones in the common room.
'But tha's not very interestin', Hermione,' said Hagrid. 'The stuff I've got's much more impressive. I've bin bringin' 'em on ler years, I reckon I've got the on'y domestic herd in Britain.'
Hermione sighed and laid down her quill.
'I'm - sorry,' she said thickly. 'I suppose . . . it's just . . . learning all this stuff . . . it just makes me . . . wonder whether . . . if he'd known it all . . . he'd still be alive.'
'What are Nargles?'
Ron was standing over him looking extremely frightened. There were more figures at the foot of Harry's bed. He clutched his head in his hands; the pain was blinding him . . . he rolled right over and vomited over the edge of the mattress.
Harry gave a half-hearted shrug. In truth, he didn't know whether he was all right or not. 'What's up?' said Ron, hoisting himself up on his elbow to get a clearer view of Harry. What's happened?'
They all divided up obediently; Harry partnered Neville as usual. The room was soon full of intermittent cries of 'Impedimenta!' People froze for a minute or so, during which their partner would stare aimlessly around the room watching other pairs at work, then would unfreeze and take their turn at the jinx.
Tha's exactly right,' said Hagrid solemnly, 'ten points ter Gryffindor. Now, Thestrals - '
Umbridge did not answer; she finished writing her last note, then looked up at Hagrid and said, again very loudly and slowly, 'Please continue teaching as usual. I am going to walk,' she mimed walking (Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson were having silent fits of laughter) 'among the students' (she pointed around at individual members of the class) 'and ask them questions.' She pointed at her mouth to indicate talking.