144 Harry’s Day
Hermione, the Honeydukes owners would hear a break-in, wouldn't they? They live over the shop!"
"Yes, but-but-" Hermoine seemed to be struggling to find another problem. "Look, Harry still shouldn't be coming into Hogsmeade. He hasn't got a signed form! If anyone finds out, he'll be in so much trouble!"
"Well, Harry is here already isn't he? Might as well let him enjoy it."
What if Sirius Black turns up today? Now?"
"He'd have a job spotting Harry in this," said Ron, nodding through the mullioned windows at the thick, swirling snow. "Come on, Hermione, it's Christmas. Harry deserves a break."
Hermione bit her lip, looking extremely worried.
"Are you going to report me?" Harry asked her, grinning. "Oh — of course not — but honestly, Harry —"
"Seen the Fizzing Whizbees, Harry?" said Ron, grabbing him and leading him over to their barrel. "And the Jelly Slugs? And the Acid Pops? Fred gave me one of those when I was seven... it burnt a hole right through my tongue. I remember Mum walloping him with her broomstick." Ron stared broodingly into the Acid Pop box. "Reckon Fred would take a bit of Cockroach Cluster if I told him they were peanuts?"
"More likely that he would convince you to eat a dung bomb." Said Arth with a smirk.
When Arth, Ron, and Hermione had paid for all their sweets, the three of them left Honeydukes for the blizzard outside.
Hogsmeade looked like a Christmas card; the little thatched cottages and shops were all covered in a layer of crisp snow; there were holly wreaths on the doors and strings of enchanted candles hanging in the trees.
Harry shivered; unlike the other three, he didn't have his cloak. Seeing this, Arth sighed before giving him his.
"Thanks, Arth, I thought I was going to become a popsicle."
Hermione let out a worried face.
"Won't that make you cold Arth?"
"Eh... it's alright I guess, I'm used to the cold anyway."
"Don't say that," said Hermione before taking off her scarf and handing it over to Arth.
"Here, this way, at least your neck is protected."
Arth declined the offer with a wry smile.
"Nah, it's ok. If I take it, then your neck will be cold."
Hermione furrowed her brows deep in thought before wrapping her scarf around the both of them.
"Then we both will share a scarf, that way, both of our necks will be warm."
Ron made a retching noise behind them. Hearing that, Hermione frowned and turned to face Ron.
"What are you making that noise for."
Ron sent out a disgusted glare towards Hermione.
"Can you guys not make out in front of me and Harry? Please spare us the torture."
Hermione sneered in response.
"You are just jealous."
"Why would I be jealous?"
"Because the way you act will always make sure that you remain single for the rest of your life."
They headed up the street, heads bowed against the wind, Ron and Hermione shouting through their scarves.
"That's the post office —"
"Zonko's is up there —"
"We could go up to the Shrieking Shack —"
"Tell you what," said Ron, his teeth chattering, "shall we go for a butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks?"
"Sure why not?"
It was extremely crowded, noisy, warm, and smoky. Madam Rosmerta was serving a bunch of rowdy warlocks up at the bar.
"That's Madam Rosmerta," said Ron. "I'll get the drinks, shall I?" he added, going slightly red.
Hermione watched his back with a look filled with disdain.
Arth, Harry, and Hermione made their way to the back of the room, where there was a small, vacant table between the window and a handsome Christmas tree, which stood next to the fireplace. Ron came back five minutes later, carrying four foaming tankards of hot butterbeer.
"Merry Christmas!" he said happily, raising his tankard.
Harry drank deeply. It was the most delicious thing he'd ever tasted and seemed to heat every bit of him from the inside.
A sudden breeze ruffled his hair. The door of the Three Broomsticks had opened again. Arth looked over the rim of his tankard and choked.
Professors McGonagall and Flitwick had just entered the pub with a flurry of snowflakes, shortly followed by Hagrid, who was deep in conversation with a portly man in a lime-green bowler hat and a pinstriped cloak — Cornelius Fudge, Minister of Magic.