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.

Quite, said Dumbledore. And if such an enchantment exists, then the ownership of the house is most likely to pass to the eldest of Siriuss living relatives, which would mean his cousin, Bellatrix Lestrange.

Without realizing what he was doing, Harry sprang to his feet; the telescope and trainers in his lap rolled across the floor. Bellatrix Lestrange, Siriuss killer, inherit his house?

No, he said.

Well, obviously we would prefer that she didnt get it either, said Dumbledore calmly. The situation is fraught with complications. We do not know whether the enchantments we ourselves have placed upon it, for example, making it Unplottable, will hold now that ownership has passed from Siriuss hands. It might be that Bellatrix will arrive on the doorstep at any moment. Naturally we had to move out until such time as we have clarified the position.

But how are you going to find out if Im allowed to own it?

Fortunately, said Dumbledore, there is a simple test.

He placed his empty glass on a small table beside his chair, but before he could do anything else, Uncle Vernon shouted, Will you get these ruddy things off us?

Harry looked around; all three of the Dursleys were cowering with their arms over their heads as their glasses bounced up and down on their skulls, their contents flying everywhere.

Oh, Im so sorry, said Dumbledore politely, and he raised his wand again. All three glasses vanished. But it would have been better manners to drink it, you know.

It looked as though Uncle Vernon was bursting with any number of unpleasant retorts, but he merely shrank back into the cushions with Aunt Petunia and Dudley and said nothing, keeping his small piggy eyes on Dumbledores wand.

You see, Dumbledore said, turning back to Harry and again speaking as though Uncle Vernon had not uttered, if you have indeed inherited the house, you have also inherited

He flicked his wand for a fifth time. There was a loud crack, and a house-elf appeared, with a snout for a nose, giant bats ears, and enormous bloodshot eyes, crouching on the Dursleys shag carpet and covered in grimy rags. Aunt Petunia let out a hair-raising shriek; nothing this filthy had entered her house in living memory. Dudley drew his large, bare, pink feet off the floor and sat with them raised almost above his head, as though he thought the creature might run up his pajama trousers, and Uncle Vernon bellowed, What the hell is that?

Kreacher, finished Dumbledore.

Kreacher wont, Kreacher wont, Kreacher wont! croaked the house-elf, quite as loudly as Uncle Vernon, stamping his long, gnarled feet and pulling his ears. Kreacher belongs to Miss Bellatrix, oh yes, Kreacher belongs to the Blacks, Kreacher wants his new mistress, Kreacher wont go to the Potter brat, Kreacher wont, wont, wont

As you can see, Harry, said Dumbledore loudly, over Kreachers continued croaks of wont, wont, wont, Kreacher is showing a certain reluctance to pass into your ownership.

I dont care, said Harry again, looking with disgust at the writhing, stamping house-elf. I dont want him.

Wont, wont, wont, wont

You would prefer him to pass into the ownership of Bellatrix Lestrange? Bearing in mind that he has lived at the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix for the past year?

Wont, wont, wont, wont

Harry stared at Dumbledore. He knew that Kreacher could not be permitted to go and live with Bellatrix Lestrange, but the idea of owning him, of having responsibility for the creature that had betrayed Sirius, was repugnant.

Give him an order, said Dumbledore. If he has passed into your ownership, he will have to obey. If not, then we shall have to think of some other means of keeping him from his rightful mistress.

Wont, wont, wont, WONT!

Kreachers voice had risen to a scream. Harry could think of nothing to say, except, Kreacher, shut up!

It looked for a moment as though Kreacher was going to choke. He grabbed his throat, his mouth still working furiously, his eyes bulging. After a few seconds of frantic gulping, he threw himself face forward onto the carpet (Aunt Petunia whimpered) and beat the floor with his hands and feet, giving himself over to a violent, but entirely silent, tantrum.

Well, that simplifies matters, said Dumbledore cheerfully. It means that Sirius knew what he was doing. You are the rightful owner of number twelve, Grimmauld Place and of Kreacher.

Do Ido I have to keep him with me? Harry asked, aghast, us Kreacher thrashed around at his feet.

Not if you dont want to, said Dumbledore. If I might make a suggestion, you could send him to Hogwarts to work in the kitchen there. In that way, the other house-elves could keep an eye on him.

Yeah, said Harry in relief, yeah, Ill do that. ErKreacherI want you to go to Hogwarts and work in the kitchens there with the other house-elves.


  2. A chill that had nothing to do with the iced champagne was stealing through Harrys chest.
  3. A Good Mother
  4. A grin flashed across Siriuss thin face.
  5. A motherly-looking Healer wearing a tinsel wreath in her hair came bustling up the corridor, smiling warmly at Harry and the others.
  7. A whistling in Harrys ear told him the Bludger had just missed him again; he turned right over and sped in the opposite direction.
  8. A. Match the facts about the UK with the places on the map.
  9. After a few minutes progress up the dark tunnel, a distant sound of slowly shifting rock reached Harrys ears.
  10. After glancing once at this portrait, Professor McGonagall made an odd movement as though steeling herself, then rounded the desk to look at Harry, her face taut and lined.
  11. And Harrys feet left the floor to fall, seconds later, back onto the rug in front of Dumbledores desk.

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Vernon Dursley had entered the room, Petunia at his shoulder, and Dudley skulking behind them both. | Kreacher, who was now lying flat on his back with his arms and legs in the air, gave Harry one upside-down look of deepest loathing and, with another loud crack, vanished.

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