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Cho and Harry alone

Cho and Harry find themselves briefly alone in an owlery

Extract from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

by J.K. Rowling

The Owlery door opened behind him. He leapt in shock and, turning quickly, saw Cho Chang holding a letter and a parcel in her hands.

‘Hi,’ said Harry automatically.

‘Oh ... hi,’ she said breathlessly. ‘I didn’t think anyone would be up here this early ... I only remembered five minutes ago, it’s my mum’s birthday.’

She held up the parcel.

‘Right,’ said Harry. His brain seemed to have jammed. He wanted to say something funny and interesting, but the memory of that terrible winged horse was fresh in his mind.

‘Nice day,’ he said, gesturing to the windows. His insides seemed to shrivel with embarrassment. The weather. He was talking about the weather ...

‘Yeah,’ said Cho, looking around for a suitable owl. ‘Good Quidditch conditions. I haven’t been out all week, have you?’

‘No,’ said Harry.

Cho had selected one of the school barn owls. She coaxed it down on to her arm where it held out an obliging leg so that she could attach the parcel.

‘Hey, has Gryffindor got a new Keeper yet?’ she asked.

‘Yeah,’ said Harry. ‘It’s my friend Ron Weasley, d’you know him?’

‘The Tornados-hater?’ said Cho rather coolly. ‘Is he any good?’

‘Yeah,’ said Harry, ‘I think so. I didn’t see his tryout, though, I was in detention.’

Cho looked up, the parcel only half-attached to the owl’s legs.

‘That Umbridge woman’s foul,’ she said in a low voice. ‘Putting you in detention just because you told the truth about how – how – how he died. Everyone heard about it, it was all over the school. You were really brave standing up to her like that.’

Harry’s insides re-inflated so rapidly he felt as though he might actually float a few inches off the dropping-strewn floor. Who cared about a stupid flying horse; Cho thought he had been really brave. For a moment, he considered accidentally-on-purpose showing her his cut hand as he helped her tie her parcel on to her owl ... but the very instant this thrilling thought occurred, the Owlery door opened again.

Filch the caretaker came wheezing into the room. There were purple patches on his sunken, veined cheeks, his jowls were aquiver and his thin grey hair dishevelled; he had obviously run here. Mrs Norris came trotting at his heels, gazing up at the owls overhead and mewing hungrily. There was a restless shifting of wings from above and a large brown owl snapped his beak in a menacing fashion.

‘Aha!’ said Filch, taking a flat-footed step towards Harry, his pouchy cheeks trembling with anger. ‘I’ve had a tip-off that you are intending to place a massive order for Dungbombs!’

Harry folded his arms and stared at the caretaker.

‘Who told you I was ordering Dungbombs?’

Cho was looking from Harry to Filch, also frowning; the barn owl on her arm, tired of standing on one leg, gave an admonitory hoot but she ignored it.

‘I have my sources,’ said Filch in a self-satisfied hiss. ‘Now hand over whatever it is you’re sending.’

Feeling immensely thankful that he had not dawdled in posting off the letter, Harry said, ‘I can’t, it’s gone.’

Gone? ’ said Filch, his face contorting with rage.

‘Gone,’ said Harry calmly.

Filch opened his mouth furiously, mouthed for a few seconds, then raked Harry’s robes with his eyes.

‘How do I know you haven’t got it in your pocket?’

‘Because –’

‘I saw him send it,’ said Cho angrily.

Filch rounded on her.

‘You saw him –?’

‘That’s right, I saw him,’ she said fiercely.

There was a moment’s pause in which Filch glared at Cho and Cho glared right back, then the caretaker turned and shuffled back towards the door. He stopped with his hand on the handle and looked back at Harry.

‘If I get so much as a whiff of a Dungbomb ...’

He stumped off down the stairs. Mrs Norris cast a last longing look at the owls and followed him.

Harry and Cho looked at each other.

‘Thanks,’ Harry said.

‘No problem,’ said Cho, finally fixing the parcel to the barn owl’s other leg, her face slightly pink. ‘You weren’t ordering Dungbombs, were you?’

‘No,’ said Harry.

‘I wonder why he thought you were, then?’ she said as she carried the owl to the window.

Harry shrugged. He was quite as mystified by that as she was, though oddly it was not bothering him very much at the moment. They left the Owlery together. At the entrance of a corridor that led towards the west wing of the castle, Cho said, ‘I’m going this way. Well, I’ll ... I’ll see you around, Harry.’

‘Yeah ... see you.’

She smiled at him and departed. Harry walked on, feeling quietly elated. He had managed to have an entire conversation with her and not embarrassed himself once ... you were really brave standing up to her like that ... Cho had called him brave ... she did not hate him for being alive ...

Harry Potter and the Order Of The Phoenix

by J.K. Rowling