Last night, he had once again made the journey along the Department of Mysteries corridor. He had passed through the circular room, then the room full of clicking and dancing light, until he found himself again inside that cavernous room full of shelves on which were ranged dusty glass spheres.
'Anyway,' he said, breathing a little more heavily than usud, 'since then the other centaurs've bin livid with me, an' the trouble is they've got a lot of influence in the Forest . . . cleverest creatures in here.'
'Yeah,' said Harry, surprised at what he considered a great over-reaction. 'But it's OK, I don't care, it's a bit of a relief to tell you the - '
'I mean, I can't get any worse, can I?' he told Harry and Hermione grimly over breakfast on the morning of the match. 'Nothing to lose now, is there?'
'Er . . . all righ',' Hagrid whispered back. Tn fact - '
'I knew yeh'd say yes,' said Hagrid into his handkerchief, 'but I won' . . . never . . . forget . . . well . . . c'mon . . . jus' a little bit further through here . . . watch yerselves, now, there's nettles . . .'
'Should we say something?' said Hermione in a worried voice, pressing her cheek against the Charms window so that she could see Mr and Mrs Montague marching inside. 'About what happened to him? In case it helps Madam Pomfrey cure him?'
'Of course I am,' said Harry, trying to sound as though this question was insulting, but not quite meeting her eye. The truth was he was so intensely curious about what was hidden in that room full of dusty orbs, that he was quite keen for the dreams to continue.
The path was becoming increasingly overgrown and the trees grew so closely together as they walked further and further into the Forest that it was as dark as dusk. They were soon a long way past the clearing where Hagrid had shown them the Thestrals, but Harry felt no sense of unease until Hagrid stepped unexpectedly off the path and began wending his way in and out of trees towards the dark heart of the Forest.
The story of Fred and George's flight to freedom was retold so often over the next few days that Harry could tell it would soon become the stuff of Hogwarts legend: within a week, even those who had been eye-witnesses were half-convinced they had seen the twins dive-bomb Umbridge on their brooms and pelt her with Dungbombs before zooming out of the doors. In the immediate aftermath of their departure there was a great wave of talk about copying them. Harry frequently heard students saying things like, 'Honestly, some days I just feel like jumping on my broom and leaving this place,' or else, 'One more lesson like that and I might just do a Weasley.'
'Maybe we bes' jus' stop fer a momen', so I can . . . fill yeh in,' said Hagrid. 'Before we ge' there, like.'
He took a great breath.
They exchanged a look of great surprise, but Harry did not have time to feel awkward or embarrassed; his knees were becoming sorer by the second and he guessed five minutes had already passed from the start of the diversion; George had only guaranteed him twenty. He therefore plunged immediately into the story of what he had seen in the Pensieve.
Hagrid gave a great sniff and patted Harry wordlessly on the shoulder with such force Harry was knocked sideways into a tree.
'How come she married him?' Harry asked miserably. 'She hated him!'
'How on earth did you gel him back without anyone noticing?' said Harry.
Hagrid's nose was gently dripping blood. His eyes were both blackened. Harry had not seen him this close-up since his return to the school; he looked utterly woebegone.
'Yeah, don't bother to keep in touch,' said George, mounting his own.
'Well, there's a good chance I'm goin' ter be gettin' the sack any day now,' he said.