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'Very good,' murmured Dumbledore. 'So the Death Eaters were able to pass from Borgin and Burkes into the school to help you ... a clever plan, a very clever plan ... and, as you say, right under my nose ...'
"Yes," said Harry quickly. "Listen, how much would it be to get to London?"
'Do it,' said the stranger standing nearest to Harry, a big, rangy man with matted grey hair and whiskers, whose black Death Eater's robes looked uncomfortably tight. He had a voice like none that Harry had ever heard: a rasping bark of a voice. Harry could smell a powerful mixture of dirt, sweat and, unmistakeably, of blood coming from him. His filthy hands had long yellowish nails.
"Molly - Arthur -" said Professor McGonagall, jumping up and hurrying to greet them. "I am so sorry -"
'Perhaps you ought to get on with the job alone,' suggested Dumbledore. 'What if your back-up has been thwarted by my guard? As you have perhaps realised, there are members of the Order of the Phoenix here tonight, too. And after all, you don't really need help ... I have no wand at the moment ... I cannot defend myself.'
"He stepped over Bill, but its all right, he's alive."
"And why should I do that?" sneered Uncle Vernon.
"He . . ." Harry cleared his throat; it was dry from panic and the smoke. "Hagrid, he killed . . ."
Think you might find this useful for next year. Won't say no more here. Tell you when I see you. Hope the Muggles are treating you right.
His hand closed automatically around the fake Horcrux, but in spite of everything, in spite of the dark and twisting path he saw stretching ahead for himself, in spite of the final meet-ing with Voldemort he knew must come, whether in a month, in a year, or in ten, he felt his heart lift at the thought that there was still one last golden day of peace left to enjoy with Ron and Hermione.
A much smaller and warmer hand had enclosed his and was pulling him upward. He obeyed its pressure without really thinking about it. Only as he walked blindly back through the crowd did he realize, from a trace of flowery scent on the air, that it was Ginny who was leading him back into the castle. Incomprehensible voices battered him, sobs and shouts and wails stabbed the night, but Harry and Ginny walked on, back up the steps into the entrance hall. Faces swam on the edges of Harry's vision, people were peering at him, whispering, wondering, and Gryffindor rubies glistened on the floor like drops of blood as they made their way toward the marble staircase.
"'Ere you go, Madam Marsh," said Stan happily as Ern stamped on the brake and the beds slid a foot or so toward the front of the bus. Madam Marsh clamped a handkerchief to her mouth and tottered down the steps. Stan threw her bag out after her and rammed the doors shut; there was another loud BANG, and they were thundering down a narrow country lane, trees leaping out of the way.
Harry got through the next three days by forcing himself to think about his Handbook of Do-It-Yourself Broomcare whenever Aunt Marge started on him. This worked quite well, though it seemed to give him a glazed look, because Aunt Marge started voicing the opinion that he was mentally subnormal.
T should've shown the book to Dumbledore,' said Harry. 'All that lime he was showing me how Voldemort was evil even when he was at school, and 1 had proof Snape was, too -'
"Dumbledore might know something that'd work, though," Ron said. "Where is he? Bill fought those maniacs on Dumbledore's orders, Dumbledore owes him, he can't leave him in this state -"
They could not see clearly what was happening at the front. Hagrid seemed to have placed the body carefully upon the table. Now he retreated down the aisle, blowing his nose with loud trumpeting noises that drew scandalised looks from some, including, Harry saw, Dolores Umbridge ... but Harry knew that Dumbledore would not have cared. He tried to make a friendly gesture to Hagrid as he passed, but Hagrid's eyes were so swollen it was a wonder he could see where he was going. Harry glanced at the back row to which Hagrid？