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Harry felt himself going red in the face. It was bad enough that hed passed out, or whatever he had done, without everyone making all this fuss.

Im fine, he said, I dont need anything

Oh, its you, is it? said Madam Pomfrey, ignoring this and bending down to stare closely at him. I suppose youve been doing something dangerous again?

It was a Dementor, Poppy, said Professor McGonagall.

They exchanged a dark look, and Madam Pomfrey clucked disapprovingly.

Setting Dementors around a school, she muttered, pushing back Harrys hair and feeling his forehead. He wont be the last one who collapses. Yes, hes all clammy. Terrible things, they are, and the effect they have on people who are already delicate

Im not delicate! said Harry crossly.

Of course youre not, said Madam Pomfrey absentmindedly, now taking his pulse.

What does he need? said Professor McGonagall crisply. Bed rest? Should he perhaps spend tonight in the hospital wing?

Im fine! said Harry, jumping up. The thought of what Draco Malfoy would say if he had to go to the hospital wing was torture.

Well, he should have some chocolate, at the very least, said Madam Pomfrey, who was now trying to peer into Harrys eyes.

Ive already had some, said Harry. Professor Lupin gave me some. He gave it to all of us.

Did he, now? said Madam Pomfrey approvingly. So weve finally got a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher who knows his remedies?

Are you sure you feel all right, Potter? Professor McGonagall said sharply.

Yes, said Harry.

Very well. Kindly wait outside while I have a quick word with Miss Granger about her course schedule, then we can go down to the feast together.

Harry went back into the corridor with Madam Pomfrey, who left for the hospital wing, muttering to herself. He had to wait only a few minutes; then Hermione emerged looking very happy about something, followed by Professor McGonagall, and the three of them made their way back down the marble staircase to the Great Hall.

It was a sea of pointed black hats; each of the long House tables was lined with students, their faces glimmering by the light of thousands of candles, which were floating over the tables in midair. Professor Flitwick, who was a tiny little wizard with a shock of white hair, was carrying an ancient hat and a three legged stool out of the hall.

Oh, said Hermione softly, weve missed the Sorting!

New students at Hogwarts were sorted into Houses by trying on the sorting Hat, which shouted out the House they were best suited to (Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, or Slytherin). Professor McGonagall strode off toward her empty seat at the staff table, and Harry and Hermione set off in the other direction, as quietly as possible, toward the Gryffindor table. People looked around at them as they passed along the back of the hall, and a few of them pointed at Harry. Had the story of his collapsing in front of the Dementor traveled that fast?


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  1. A bright silver light appeared right ahead of him, moving through the trees. Whatever the source, it was moving soundlessly. The light seemed simply to drift toward him.
  2. A chill that had nothing to do with the iced champagne was stealing through Harrys chest.
  3. A dark figure came bustling toward them, and Harry saw a glint of silver to the light of their wands. They had found Gryffindors sword.
  4. A few sparks shot out of the end of his wand, which was still pointed at Blacks face. Hermione fell silent.
  5. A grin flashed across Siriuss thin face.
  6. A mixture of gratitude and shame welled up in Harry. Had Lupin forgiven him, then, for the terrible things he had said when they had last met?
  7. A motherly-looking Healer wearing a tinsel wreath in her hair came bustling up the corridor, smiling warmly at Harry and the others.
  8. A paralyzing terror filled Harry so that he couldnt move or speak. His Patronus flickered and died.
  9. A seam had split on Hermiones bag. Harry wasnt surprised; he could see that it was crammed with at least a dozen large and heavy books.
  10. A stooping man had appeared behind the counter, smoothing his greasy hair back from his face.
  11. A vivid image of the shrieking, spitting portrait of Siriuss mother that hung in the hall of number twelve, Grimmauld Place flashed into Harrys mind. I bet there has, he said.
  12. A whistling in Harrys ear told him the Bludger had just missed him again; he turned right over and sped in the opposite direction.




<== | ==>
As Harry stepped down, a drawling, delighted voice sounded in his ear. | He and Hermione sat down on either side of Ron, who had saved them seats.

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