There was a pause in which Harry glared at her, and her eyes filled slowly with tears.

“You didn’t mean that,” said Harry quietly.

“No… well… all right… I didn’t,” she said, wiping her eyes angrily. “But why does he have to make life so difficult for himself—for us?”

“I dunno—”

“Weasley is our King,
Weasley is our King,
He didn’t let the Quaffle in,
Weasley is our King…”

“And I wish they’d stop singing that stupid song,” said Hermione miserably, “haven’t they gloated enough?”

A great tide of students was moving up the sloping lawns from the pitch.

“Oh, let’s get in before we have to meet the Slytherins,” said Hermione.

“Weasley can save anything,
He never leaves a single ring,
That’s why Gryffindors all sing:
Weasley is our King.”

“Hermione…” said Harry slowly.

The song was growing louder, but it was issuing not from a crowd of green-and-silver-clad Slytherins, but from a mass of red and gold moving slowly towards the castle, bearing a solitary figure upon its many shoulders.

“Weasley is our King,
Weasley is our King,
He didn’t let the Quaffle in,
Weasley is our King…”

“No?” said Hermione in a hushed voice.

“YES!” said Harry loudly.

“HARRY! HERMIONE!” yelled Ron, waving the silver Quidditch cup in the air and looking quite beside himself. “WE DID IT! WE WON!”

They beamed up at him as he passed. There was a scrum at the door of the castle and Ron’s head got rather badly bumped on the lintel, but nobody seemed to want to put him down. Still singing, the crowd squeezed itself into the Entrance Hall and out of sight. Harry and Hermione watched them go, beaming, until the last echoing strains of ‘Weasley is our King’ died away. Then they turned to each other, their smiles fading.

“We’ll save our news till tomorrow, shall we?” said Harry.

“Yes, all right,” said Hermione wearily. “I’m not in any hurry.”

They climbed the steps together. At the front doors both instinctively looked back at the Forbidden Forest. Harry was not sure whether or not it was his imagination, but he rather thought he saw a small cloud of birds erupting into the air over the tree tops in the distance, almost as though the tree in which they had been nesting had just been pulled up by the roots.