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Kreacher bowed again, looking furious, and then said, "Master Malfoy eats in the Great Hall, he sleeps in a dormitory in the dun-geons, he attends his classes in a variety of—"
Professor Sprout headed off into the gathering darkness in the direction of her greenhouses, and Slughorn directed his steps to the spot where Harry stood, invisible.
The house-elf bowed low and addressed his own gnarled toes. "Master said he wanted regular reports on what the Malfoy boy is doing, so Kreacher has come to give--"
'Oh, all right, come in, then, come in,' said Slughorn, relenting. 'I've got the necessary here in my bag, it's not a difficult antidote ...'
"Yeah . . . well. . . it's not that easy, is it?" said Ron. He paused. "Hermione going to look in before the match?" he added casually.
"Well, sir, it's Hagrid," said Harry, who knew that the right thing to do just now was to tell the truth. "He's pretty upset. . . But you won't tell anyone, Professor? I don't want trouble for him. ..."
Harry ignored her. He had just found an incantation “Sectum-sempra!" scrawled in a margin above the intriguing words "For enemies," and was itching to try it out, but thought it best not to in front of Hermione. Instead, he surreptitiously folded down the corner of the page. They were sitting beside the fire in the common room; the only other people awake were fellow sixth years. There had been a cer-tain amount of excitement earlier when they had come back from dinner to find a new sign on the notice board that announced the date for their Apparition Test. Those who would be seventeen on or before the first test date, the twenty-first of April, had the option of signing up for additional practice sessions, which would take place (heavily supervised) in Hogsmeade.
He closed his eyes as he approached the place where the Room of Requirement's door was concealed. He knew what he had to do; he had become most accomplished at it last year. Concentrating with all his might he thought, “I need to see what Malfoy's doing in here... I need to see what Malfoy's doing in here... I need to see what Malfoy's doing in here...”
But only one word of this seemed to have registered with Ron.
"No, Harry Potter, that is impossible," said Dobby.
"Then we have nothing more to say to each other."
"Ginny came in to visit while you were unconscious," he said, after a long pause, and Harry's imagination zoomed into overdrive, rapidly constructing a scene in which Ginny, weeping over his lifeless form, confessed her feelings of deep attraction to him while Ron gave them his blessing. . . ."She reckons you only just arrived on time for the match. How come? You left here early enough."
"So I wanted to know how come he's up at the castle with a couple of girlfriends while everyone else is down here. ..."
Harry stared at the dangling Ron, whose face now looked tremendously hopeful, and fought a strong desire to laugh. A part of him - the part closest to his throbbing right ear - was quite keen on the idea of letting Ron down and watching him run amok until the effects of the potion wore off ... but on the other hand, they were supposed to be friends, Ron had not been himself when he had attacked, and Harry- thought that he would deserve another punching if he permitted Ron to declare undying love for Romilda Vane.
"Blimey, it was lucky you thought of a bezoar," said George in a low voice.
And Harry dived after Dumbledore through the shifting silver mass, landing in the very office he had just left. There was Fawkes slumbering happily on his perch, and there behind the desk was Dumbledore, who looked very similar to the Dumbledore standing beside Harry, though both hands were whole and undamaged and his face was, perhaps, a little less lined. The one difference between the present-day office and this one was that it was snowing in the past; bluish flecks were drifting past the window in the dark and building up on the outside ledge.
She did not answer, but merely crossed out a few of his feebler sentences in a weary sort of way. Grinning, Harry hurried out through the portrait hole and off to the headmasters office. The gargoyle leapt aside at the mention of toffee eclairs, and Harry took the spiral staircase two steps at a time, knocking on the door just as a clock within chimed eight.