“Lavender and Parvati. They share a room with Hermione.”
He turned to his fellow Gryffindors, who he thought looked like absolute trash next to Sara, and introduced her as his girlfriend. Their reception was cold, but polite.
“Sara, I’m so sorry about last night. I’ve been meaning to speak to you about it, but then everything happened this morning and I haven’t had time. I’ll fix your flowerpots.”
She gave him her sweetest smile and brushed her thumb along the scratch on his forehead. “Don’t worry about it. All’s well, isn’t it?”
Lavender whispered to her friend. “Who does she think she is? She just got here yesterday! We’ve known him for years!”
Parvati scowled. “I’ll bet she’s a fake blonde.”
“I brought you something.” Sara searched for an obscure pocket. “Here it is.” She placed the object in his hand.
“What is it?” he asked, examining a glass ball full of swirling purple mist. “What does it do?”
“It’s a Confidall. It holds a bit of my confidence. Keep it in your pocket. If you get nervous, touch it and you’ll feel better.”
“I feel better already.” He smiled into her eyes, slipping her confidence into his pocket.
“That’s because you’re touching the Confidall.”
“Maybe, maybe not.” He smiled and she blushed a little. “Good luck today, Sara. Make Trelawney open a window. Oh, girls, I forgot you were there. Um, would you excuse us?”
“Yeah, see you later Harry,” Lavender said, a bit of venom in her voice.
“Nice meeting you.” Parvati smirked at Sara, in much the same tone.
Sara grinned, trying hard not to giggle until they were out of sight. “I think they were about to attack you.”
“Thanks for the rescue. You have impeccable timing. Last year, Hermione said they were flirting with Nearly Headless Nick!”
“A ghost? Oh my. Perhaps I should have given the Confidall to them. It sounds like they need it more than you do.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure about that. I’m scared to death.”
“You? Fearless Captain Potter? You’ll see, Harry. You’ll be fine.”
“I hope so.”
“What’s wrong with Ron?”
Harry related the story, saying he had no idea what the intruder was looking for and downplaying the seriousness of the Drought of the Living Dead, leaving out the nightmares, and ending with Hermione being excused from classes to do research for Dumbledore.
“I have a few minutes before History of Magic, so I’ll come see how you’re doing.”
“I’ll see you then. You’re going to be late for your first class.”
Sara glanced at her watch and horror invaded her expression. “I’d better run!” She gave him a fierce hug, pecked his cheek, and ran from the room.
“He never went back to his dorm! I sat in the Gryffindor common room half the night! I had to get some sleep before classes today. Anyway, by one-thirty he still hadn’t come back, so I went up to his room. Weasley and the others were there, but there were pillows stuffed under Potter’s sheets. I went to bed.”
“The common room?” Morgio asked, surprised. “However did you manage that How on Earth did you get in? Surely the invisibility cloak wasn’t enough to let you pass the guard undetected.”