'Yeah,' said Hagrid. ' 'S'no more'n I expected, ter tell yen the truth. Yeh migh' not've picked up on it, bu' that inspection didn' go too well, yeh know . . . anyway,' he sighed deeply. 'Bes' go an' rub a bit more chilli powder on them salamanders or their tails'll be hangin' off 'em next. See yeh, Harry . . . Ron . . .'
'Hermione told me to come and check on you,' said Ron in a low voice, helping Harry to his feet. 'She says your defences will be low at the moment, after Snape's been fiddling around with your mind . . . still, I suppose it'll help in the long run, won't it?' He looked doubtfully at Harry as he helped him towards his bed. Harry nodded without any conviction and slumped back on his pillows, aching all over from having fallen to the floor so often that evening, his scar still prickling painfully. He could not help feeling that his first foray into Occlumency had weakened his mind's resistance rather than strengthening it, and he wondered, with a feeling of great trepidation, what had happened to make Lord Voldemort the happiest he had been in fourteen years.
'I think I'll go to bed,' said Harry, stuffing the homework planner back into his bag and making a mental note to drop it in the fire the first opportunity he got.
Harry stood up again, his heart thumping wildly as though he had really just seen Cedric dead in the graveyard. Snape looked paler than usual, and angrier, though not nearly as angry as Harry was.
'I want you back here same time on Wednesday. We will continue work then.'
FOR OLD DEATH EATERS
Harry felt shivery; his scar was still aching, he felt almost feverish.
'You're not doing it, Potter . . . you will need more discipline than this . . . focus, now . . .'
'Well then, why do I have to learn Occlumency?'
'What now?' said Harry quickly; he was feeling jumpy.
'I've changed my mind,' muttered Ron, picking himself up from the floor for the sixth time, 'I never want to ride on this thing again.'
'It is the ability to extract feelings and memories from another person's mind - '
'Forget it,' said Harry dismally. 'It's what everyone's going to think, isn't it? That I'm really stup - '
Several girls screamed, but everyone else was roaring with laughter.
He walked across the common room, dodging George, who tried to put a Headless Hat on him, and reached the peace and cool of the stone staircase to the boys' dormitories. He was feeling sick again, just as he had the night he had had the vision of the snake, but thought that if he could just lie down for a while he would be all right.
They were rolling through a snowy Hogsmeade. Harry caught a glimpse of the Hog's Head down its side street, the severed boar's head sign creaking in the wintry wind. Flecks of snow hit the large window at the front of the bus. At last they rolled to a halt outside the gates to Hogwarts.
'In the Department of Mysteries, it's got to be,' Harry whispered. 'I saw that door when your dad took me down to the courtrooms for my hearing and it's definitely the same one he was guarding when the snake bit him.'
' - lessons ter prepare - couple o' salamanders got scale rot - an' I'm on probation,' he mumbled.