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Fred gave the Extendable Ear a hearty tug; there was another loud crack and he and George vanished. Seconds later, Mrs. Weasley appeared in the bedroom doorway.

The meetings over, you can come down and have dinner now. Everyones dying to see you, Harry. And whos left all those Dungbombs outside the kitchen door?

Crookshanks, said Ginny unblusingly. He loves playing with them.

Oh, said Mrs. Weasley, I thought it might have been Kreacher, he keeps doing odd things like that. Now dont forget to keep your voices down in the hall. Ginny, your hands are filthy, what have you been doing? Go and wash them before dinner, please.

Ginny grimaced at the others and followed her mother out of the room, leaving Harry alone with Ron and Hermione. Both of them were watching him apprehensively, as though they feared he would start shouting again now that everyone else had gone. The sight of them looking so nervous made him feel slightly ashamed.

Look he muttered, but Ron shook his head, and Hermione said quietly, We knew youd be angry, Harry, we really dont blame you, but youve got to understand, we did try to persuade Dumbledore

Yeah, I know, said Harry shortly.

He cast around for a topic that didnt involve his headmaster, because the very thought of Dumbledore made Harrys insides burn with anger again.

Whos Kreacher? he asked.

The house-elf who lives here, said Ron. Nutter. Never met one like him.

Hermione frowned at Ron.

Hes not a nutter, Ron.

His lifes ambition is to have his head cut off and stuck up on a plaque just like his mother, said Ron irritably. Is that normal, Hermione?

Wellwell, if he is a bit strange, its not his fault.

Ron rolled his eyes at Harry.

Hermione still hasnt given up on SPEW

Its not SPEW! said Hermione heatedly. Its the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare. And its not just me, Dumbledore says we should be kind to Kreacher too.

Yeah, yeah, said Ron. Cmon, Im starving.

He led the way out of the door and on to the landing, but before they could descend the stairs

Hold it! Ron breathed, flinging out an arm to stop Harry and Hermione walking any further. Theyre still in the hall, we might be able to hear something.

The three of them looked cautiously over the banisters. The gloomy hallway below was packed with witches and wizards, including all of Harrys guard. They were whispering excitedly together. In the very centre of the group Harry saw the dark, greasy-haired head and prominent nose of his least favourite teacher at Hogwarts, Professor Snape. Harry leant further over the banisters. He was very interested in what Snape was doing for the Order of the Phoenix

A thin piece of flesh-coloured string descended in front of Harrys eyes. Looking up, he saw Ered and George on the landing above, cautiously lowering the Extendable Ear towards the dark knot of people below. A moment later, however, they all began to move towards the front door and out of sight.

Dammit, Harry heard Fred whisper, as he hoisted the Extendable Ear back up again.


:

  1. A black blindfold appeared over Phineas Nigelluss clever, dark eyes, causing him to bump into the frame and shriek with pain.
  2. A bright silver light appeared right ahead of him, moving through the trees. Whatever the source, it was moving soundlessly. The light seemed simply to drift toward him.
  3. A few moments later, Mr. Weasley came into the warm living room carrying his dinner on a tray. He looked completely exhausted.
  4. A gale of laughter from the middle of the table drowned the rest of Bills words. Fred, George, Ron and Mundungus were rolling around in their seats.
  5. A hand had appeared amongst the flames, groping as though to catch hold of something; a stubby, short-fingered hand covered in ugly old-fashioned rings.
  6. A map of Hogwarts appeared on the blank surface of the parchment. Tiny black moving dots, labelled with names, showed where various people were.
  7. A plump witch carrying a smoking goblet entered the lift at that moment, and Mr. Weasley did not elaborate.
  8. A stooping man had appeared behind the counter, smoothing his greasy hair back from his face.
  9. A violently purple, triple-decker bus had appeared out of thin air in front of them, narrowly avoiding the nearest lamppost, which jumped backwards out of its way.
  10. A vivid image of the shrieking, spitting portrait of Siriuss mother that hung in the hall of number twelve, Grimmauld Place flashed into Harrys mind. I bet there has, he said.
  11. A. Before you listen, say when you visit another city, what do you enjoy/not enjoy doing?
  12. And Harrys feet left the floor to fall, seconds later, back onto the rug in front of Dumbledores desk.




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Harry swore under his breath. He had always liked Percy least of Rons brothers, but he had never imagined he would say such things to Mr. Weasley. | They heard the front door open, then close.

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