The Thief

Harryopenedhiseyesandwasdazzledbygoldandgreen;hehadnoideawhathadhappened,heonlyknewthathewaslyingonwhatseemedtobeleavesandtwigs.Strugglingtodrawbreathintolungsthatfeltflattened,heblinkedandrealizedthatthegaudyglarewassunlightstreamingthroughacanopyofleavesfarabovehim.Thenanobjecttwitchedclosetohisface.Hepushedhimselfontohishandsandknees,readytofacesomesmall,fiercecreature,butsawthattheobjectwasRon’sfoot.Lookingaround,HarrysawthattheyandHermionewerelyingonaforestfloor,apparentlyalone.

Harry’sfirstthoughtwasoftheForbiddenForest,andforamoment,eventhoughheknewhowfoolishanddangerousitwouldbeforthemtoappearinthegroundsofHogwarts,hisheartleaptatthethoughtofsneakingthroughthetreestoHagrid’shut.However,inthefewmomentsittookforRontogivealowgroanandHarrytostartcrawlingtowardhim,herealizedthatthiswasnottheForbiddenForest:Thetreeslookedyounger,theyweremorewidelyspaced,thegroundclearer.

HemetHermione,alsoonherhandsandknees,atRon’shead.ThemomenthiseyesfelluponRon,allotherconcernsfledHarry’smind,forblooddrenchedthewholeofRon’sleftsideandhisfacestoodout,grayish-white,againsttheleaf-strewnearth.ThePolyjuicePotionwaswearingoffnow:RonwashalfwaybetweenCattermoleandhimselfinappearance,hishairturningredderandredderashisfacedrainedofthelittlecolorithadleft.

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