Behind Closed Doors (Part 2 of 2)
Even though it was precisely what he had been expecting, Harry could not help but be excited. It was always the same; no matter how many of these little notes he received, they never failed to send him weak at the knees. Unfortunately he did not have the time to revel in the way they made him feel; someone could come walking through the door at any moment, so he had to act fast. He put the note back in the envelope, slid off the bed onto his knees and set it on the stone floor. He then took out his wand, muttered a simple spell under his breath and the note caught fire in a flash of pale blue. It was gone in seconds, which was extremely lucky because no sooner had the last dying embers of the note disappeared the dormitory door was opened by Ron.
‘There you are,’ he said, before looking at Harry with slight suspicion. ‘What are you doing?’
It took Harry a fraction of a second to think up a suitable lie but to him it felt like a day had passed with Ron staring at him.
‘I…err…forgot my wand. It…must have fallen under my bed.’
‘Oh, okay. Come on, you want some lunch?’
‘Yeah, sure,’ said Harry, pleased that Ron seemed to have bought his explanation. He stood up, dusted his knees off and left the room, closing the door behind him.
The rest of the day passed slightly more easily than the morning had but Harry was still at the mercy of his daydreams. He lost count how many times either Ron or Hermione had to snap him back to the here and now, but it was no good. No matter how hard he tried to concentrate on whatever he was supposed to be doing he just could not keep his mind in one place without it wandering back to the same place, with the same person. At present he was supposed to be playing Magic Chess with Ron in the Gryffindor Common Room, but even that was not enough to hold his attention down for very long. Ron was used to beating Harry at Magic Chess but he was absolutely trouncing him in this game.
‘Harry, what’s wrong?’ asked Ron from the other side of the chessboard.
‘Oh nothing,’ said Harry, his head cradled in his one free hand.
‘You’ve gone really quiet though.’
‘I’m just tired,’ lied Harry. ‘I think I’ll go to bed.’
‘Yeah, I’ll follow,’ said Ron, ushering the chess pieces back into their box. ‘This is getting boring, I mean I don’t think you’re even trying.’
‘I was,’ lied Harry once again. ‘Like I said, I’m just tried.’
‘Okay.’ said Ron, as he put the lid back on the chessboard.
They left the Gryffindor Common Room and made their way up to their dormitory, all the while Harry hoping that the burnt note had not left any visible marks on the floor. He knew it would not have -- it had never done so in the past -- but he usually had more time to be sure. As soon as they entered the dormitory Harry’s eyes instantly fell upon the spot where he had burned the note -- he was massively relieved to see no burn marks or charred bits of paper.
‘Well, goodnight,’ he said, walking round to the foot of his bed where he kept his chest. He made sure that his body blocked Ron’s view of the chest so he could not see Harry remove his fathers Cloak of Invisibility along with his pyjamas. He quickly closed the chest and bundled the Cloak and pyjamas under his pillow.
‘Goodnight Harry,’ said Ron before he closed the curtains of his four-poster bed. Harry got changed and climbed into bed, closing the curtains securely to make sure no one could see that he was wide awake. He lay there for what seemed like forever, listening until he was certain that everyone else in the room was fast asleep. When he felt it was safe he reached under his pillow and pulled out the silvery liquid flowing form that was the Cloak of Invisibility. He pulled it over his head and let it fall about him, making sure he was completely covered before venturing out of his bed. Everyone else in the room was indeed asleep, but that did not stop Harry from being on his guard. He crept silently over to the door and pulled it open as slowly and quietly as he could. He knew that this door would squeak if he opened it any quicker, and he had snuck out enough times to know at just what speed to open it. He stepped noiselessly out into the corridor, feeling the air change from the relative warmth of the dormitory to the chill of the abandoned halls. He kept close to the walls and rounded corners very cautiously; he did not want to run into anyone, or through anyone. The last thing he needed was to run into Peeves who would no doubt shout his head off just to get Harry into trouble. He also did not want to run into Filch or Mrs…
Just as he was thinking this, as if the spirit if Irony was working its evil magic on him he heard a sound that almost stopped his heart.
It was Mrs Norris.
Harry knew that wherever Mrs Norris was, Filch had the uncanny ability to appear in a matter of seconds, so he had to get out of there as soon as he could. He edged carefully along the corridor before his heart leapt into his throat.
They were coming his way.
And if that was not bad enough they were in the very corridor that he needed to go down. Cursing his bad luck Harry started to look about him in desperation, his eyes searching for somewhere, anywhere that he could hide. His head jerked this way and that, he started to get that uncomfortable prickly feeling that told him he would soon break out in a sweat -- and then it hit him.
Behind the curtain.
It was not perfect but it would have to do; Harry just prayed that Mrs Norris did not choose his curtain to rub against on her way past. He half-ran, half-crept to the window and slid behind the curtain, trying to make as little noise as possible. He could hear his heart pounding like a kettledrum; it seemed to fill the air around him and he felt sure that the whole world could hear it. He heard a spluttering cough that indicated Filch was rounding the corner, and in a vain attempt to still the frantic beating of his heart Harry held his breath. He instantly regretted doing this, knowing that his lung capacity was not sufficient enough to last until Filch and Mrs Norris were out of earshot. He stood there motionless, back pressed against the cold glass of the window, hoping that wherever Filch was headed he would hurry up and get there.
Harry could now hear Filch clearly and it was not long before he could see him through the silver translucency of the Cloak. Harry’s cheeks expanded and sweat gathered on his brow as he tried helplessly to keep holding his breath. He knew it was no use, he would have to breathe out soon or he would pass out. He sucked his cheeks back in and attempted the slowest exhale in history. He managed to get his breath back without giving away his location but as soon as he started breathing normally again he nearly bit off his tongue in shock.
Mrs Norris was right next to him.
She was luxuriously nuzzling the fabric of the curtain right next to him and he knew that his was next. He felt his limbs tense and his breath quicken as he raced through a million thoughts in a few seconds, trying to think of a way that he could possibly avoid detection. He could not allow himself to be found out, he just couldn’t. He looked over his shoulder out of the darkened window and wondered if he could step out onto the window ledge without Filch or Mrs Norris hearing.
Not a chance, he thought. The second he opened the window Mrs Norris would be onto him and then Filch would catch him red-handed. There had to be another way, but she was so close. If he so much as moved an inch she would find him and then…and then…
‘Mrs Norris, c’mere!’ hissed Filch, as he was just about to round another corridor. She stopped her tactile appreciation of the curtain and padded quickly towards Filch, leaving Harry to nearly faint with relief. He felt sure that Filch would kick himself if he knew how he had just aided a wayward student in creeping about after lights out. As soon as Harry was alone again he slipped out from behind the curtain and continued on his way, feeling the chill in the air now as he was caked in sweat. He was lucky enough to not run into anyone else before arriving at his destination, which was good because after his encounter with Filch, Harry was convinced that another event like that would finish him off.
He arrived at the door and noticed it was open just a crack, he was expected. He smiled to himself as he pushed the door open just enough to squeeze through. He then closed the door to the Slytherin dormitory.
‘Have any trouble getting here?’ asked Malfoy.
‘Not really,’ lied Harry.
‘Good. Come on get in, it’s freezing.’