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A few people laughed; Harry caught Seamus's eye, and Seamus winked. Snape, however, was not pleased.
"Come back, boy!" she shouted, but Neville was rising straight up like a cork shot out of a bottle -- twelve feet -- twenty feet. Harry saw his scared white face look down at the ground falling away, saw him gasp, slip sideways off the broom and --
"Ah, Yes," he said softly, "Harry Potter. Our new -- celebrity."
"Yes and no," said Dumbledore quietly. "It shows us nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts. You, who have never known your family, see them standing around you. Ronald Weasley, who has always been overshadowed by his brothers, sees himself standing alone, the best of all of them. However, this mirror will give us neither knowledge or truth. Men have wasted away before it, entranced by what they have seen, or been driven mad, not knowing if what it shows is real or even possible.
Neville, his face tear-streaked, clutching his wrist, hobbled off with Madam Hooch, who had her arm around him.
"It'll all be over at midnight on Saturday," said Hermione, but this didn't soothe Ron at all. On the contrary, he sat bolt upright and broke into a sweat.
"Mrs. Norris?" breathed Ron, squinting through the dark.
"Give it here," Harry called, "or I'll knock you off that broom!" "Oh, yeah?" said Malfoy, trying to sneer, but looking worried.
"But we're not six hundred years old," Ron reminded her. "Anyway, what are you studying for, you already know it A."
The library was pitch-black and very eerie. Harry lit a lamp to see his way along the rows of books. The lamp looked as if it was floating along in midair, and even though Harry could feel his arm supporting it, the sight gave him the creeps.
The Potters smiled and waved at Harry and he stared hungrily back at them, his hands pressed flat against the glass as though he was hoping to fall right through it and reach them. He had a powerful kind of ache inside him, half joy, half terrible sadness.
Malfay certainly did talk about flying a lot. He complained loudly about first years never getting on the house Quidditch teams and told long, boastful stories that always seemed to end with him narrowly escaping Muggles in helicopters. He wasn't the only one, though: the way Seamus Finnigan told it, he'd spent most of his childhood zooming around the countryside on his broomstick. Even Ron would tell anyone who'd listen about the time he'd almost hit a hang glider on Charlie's old broom. Everyone from wizarding families talked about Quidditch constantly. Ron had already had a big argument with Dean Thomas, who shared their dormitory, about soccer. Ron couldn't see what was exciting about a game with only one ball where no one was allowed to fly. Harry had caught Ron prodding Dean's poster of West Ham soccer team, trying to make the players move.
He opened the crate. Inside were four different-sized balls.
"Bless him, look, he knows his mommy!" said Hagrid.
"Follow me, you two," said Professor McGonagall, and they marched on up the corridor, Wood looking curiously at Harry.