By J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Chapter Nineteen. The Silver Doe
It was snowing by the time Hermione took over the watch at midnight. Harry’s dreams were confused and disturbing: Nagini wove in and out of them, first through a wreath of Christmas roses. He woke repeatedly, panicky, convinced that somebody had called out to him in the distance, imagining that the wind whipping around the tent was footsteps or voices.
Finally he got up in the darkness and joined Hermione, who was huddled in the entrance to the tent reading A History of Magic by the light of her wand. The snow was falling thickly, and she greeted with relief his suggestion of packing up early and moving on.
“We’ll somewhere more sheltered,” she agreed, shivering as she pulled on a sweatshirt over her pajamas. “I kept thinking I could hear people moving outside. I even though I saw somebody one or twice.”
Harry paused in the
act of pulling on a jumper and glanced at the silent, motionless Sneakoscope on the table.
“I’m sure I imagined it,” said Hermione, looking nervous. “The snow the dark, it plays tricks on your eyes… But perhaps we ought to Disapparate under the Invisibility Cloak, just in case?”
Half an hour later, with the tent packed, Harry wearing the Horcrux, and Hermione clutching the beaded bag, they Disapparated. The usual tightness engulfed them; Harry’s feet parted company with the snowy ground, then slammed hard onto what felt like frozen earth covered in leaves.
“Where are we?” he asked, peering around at the fresh mass of trees as Hermione opened the beaded bag and began tugging out the tent poles.
“The Forest of Dean,” she said, “I came camping here once with my mum and dad.”
Here too snow lay on the trees all around and it was bitterly cold, but they were at least protected from the wind. They spent most of the day inside the tent, huddled for warmth around the useful bright blue flames that Hermione was adept at producing, and which could be scooped up and carried in a jar. Harry felt as though he was recuperating from some brief but severe, an impression reinforced by Hermione’s solicitousness. That afternoon fresh flakes drifted down upon them, so that even their sheltered clearing had a fresh dusting of powdery snow.
After two nights of little sleep, Harry’s senses seemed more alert than usual. Their escape from Godric’s Hollow had been so narrow that Voldemort seemed somehow closer than before, more threatening. As darkness drove in again Harry refused Hermione’s offer to keep watch and told her to go to bed.
Harry moved an old cushion into the tent mouth and sat down, wearing all the sweaters he owned but even so, still shivery. The darkness deepened with the passing hours until it was virtually impenetrable. He was on the point of taking out the Marauder’s Map, so as to watch Ginny’s dot for a while, before he remembered that it was the Christmas holidays and that she would be back at the Burrow.
Every tiny movement seemed magnified in the vastness of the forest. Harry knew that it must be full of living creatures, but he wished they would all remain still and silent so that he could separate their innocent scurryings and prowlings from noises that might proclaim other, sinister movements. He remembered the sound of a cloak slithering over dead leaves many years ago, and at once thought he heard it again before mentally shaking himself. Their protective enchantments had worked for weeks; why should they break now?