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"Kill me then," panted Harry, who felt no fear at all, but only rage and contempt. "Kill me like you killed him, you coward -"
Inside this, too, there was a wrapped present, a card, and a letter, this time from Hermione.
'Isn't that the secret method of communication the group that called themselves Dumbledore's Army used last year?' asked Dumbledore. His voice was light and conversational, but Harry saw him slip an inch lower down the wall as he said it.
"MARGE!" yelled Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia together as Aunt Marge's whole body began to rise off her chair toward the ceiling. She was entirely round, now, like a vast life buoy with piggy eyes, and her hands and feet stuck out weirdly as she drifted up into the air, making apoplectic popping noises. Ripper came skidding into the room, barking madly.
'We're with you whatever happens,' said Ron. 'But, mate, you're going to have to come round my mum and dad's house before we do anything else, even Godric's Hollow.'
An extraordinary assortment of people had already settled into half of the chairs: shabby and smart, old and young. Most Harry did not recognise, but there were a few that he did, including members of the Order of the Phoenix: Kingsley Shacklebolt, Mad-Eye Moody, Tonks, her hair miraculously returned to vividest pink, Remus Lupin, with whom she seemed to be holding hands, Mr and Mrs Weasley, Bill sup-ported by Fleur and followed by Fred and George, who were wearing jackets of black dragonskin. Then there was Madame Maxime, who took up two-and-a-half chairs on her own, Tom, the landlord of the Leaky Cauldron, Arabella Figg, Harry's Squib neighbour, the hairy bass player from the
'They didn't die in a car crash!" said Harry, who found himself on his feet.
He missed; the jet of red light soared past Snape's head; Snape shouted, "Run, Draco!"and turned. Twenty yards apart, he and Harry looked at each other before raising their wands simultaneously.
"Don't worry, none of us."
"So then he came upstairs," said Harry, who was watching Snape running up the marble staircase in his mind's eye, his black robes billowing behind him as ever, pulling his wand from under his cloak as he ascended, "and he found the place where you were all fighting. ..."
Fenrir Greyback grinned, showing pointed teeth. Blood trickled down his chin and he licked his lips slowly, obscenely.
"What did Scrimgeour want?' Hermione whispered.
Harry shivered and looked up and down Magnolia Crescent.
By the time he got back to the kitchen, Aunt Marge had been supplied with tea and fruitcake, and Ripper was lapping noisily in the corner. Harry saw Aunt Petunia wince slightly as specks of tea and drool flecked her clean floor. Aunt Petunia hated animals.
"You'll get the stuffing knocked out of you, won't you?" roared Uncle Vernon, advancing on Harry with his fist raised. But Harry stood his ground.
Hagrid fell silent, the thought apparently too horrible to express aloud. Harry walked alongside him, feeling the aches and pains in his face and his legs where the various hexes of the last half hour had hit him, though in an oddly detached way, as though somebody near him was suffering them. What was real and inescapable was the awful pressing feeling in his chest. . . .
The staff were seated at last. Harry could see Scrimgeour looking grave and dignified in the front row with Professor McGonagall. He wondered whether Scrimgeour or any of these important people were really sorry that Dumbledore wasand he forgot his dislike of the Ministry in looking around for the source of it. He was not the only one: many heads were turning, searching, a little alarmed.？
'I don't ihink he wanted to associate himself with that book,' said Hermione. 'I don't think Dumbledore would have liked it very much if he'd known. And even if Snape pre-tended it hadn't been his, Slughom would have recognised his writing at once. Anyway, the book was left in Snape's old classroom, and I'll bet Dumbledore knew his mother was called "Prince".'。