Harry straightened up and looked around at the motionless, terrified people gazing at the thrashing elf.

“WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?” Harry bellowed. “RUN!”

They all pelted towards the exit at once, forming a scrum at the door, then people burst through. Harry could hear them sprinting along the corridors and hoped they had the sense not to try and make it all the way to their dormitories. It was only ten to nine; if they just took refuge in the library or the Owlery, which were both nearer—

“Harry, come on!” shrieked Hermione from the centre of the knot of people now fighting to get out.

He scooped up Dobby, who was still attempting to do himself serious injury, and ran with the elf in his arms to join the back of the queue.

“Dobby—this is an order—get back down to the kitchen with the other elves and, if she asks you whether you warned me, lie and say no!” said Harry. “And I forbid you to hurt yourself!” he added, dropping the elf as he made it over the threshold at last and slammed the door behind him.

“Thank you, Harry Potter!” squeaked Dobby, and he streaked off. Harry glanced left and right, the others were all moving so fast he caught only glimpses of flying heels at either end of the corridor before they vanished; he started to run right; there was a boys’ bathroom up ahead, he could pretend he’d been in there all the time if he could just reach it—


Something caught him around the ankles and he fell spectacularly, skidding along on his front for six feet before coming to a halt. Someone behind him was laughing. He rolled over on to his back and saw Malfoy concealed in a niche beneath an ugly dragon-shaped vase.

“Trip Jinx, Potter!” he said. “Hey Professor—PROFESSOR! I’ve got one!”

Umbridge came bustling round the far corner, breathless but wearing a delighted smile.

“It’s him!” she said jubilantly at the sight of Harry on the floor. “Excellent, Draco, excellent, oh, very good—fifty points to Slytherin! I’ll take him from here… stand up, Potter!”