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And then Harry heard a thin, piteous human scream from amidst the terrible commotion, the thunder of devouring flame.

Itstoodangerous! Ron yelled, but Harry wheeled in the air. His glasses giving his eyes some small protection from the smoke, he raked the firestorm below, seeking a sign of life, a limb or a face that was not yet charred like wood

And he saw them: Malfoy with his arms around the unconscious Goyle, the pair of them perched on a fragile tower of charred desks, and Harry dived. Malfoy saw him coming and raised one arm, but even as Harry grasped it he knew at once that it was no good. Goyle was too heavy and Malfoys hand, covered in sweat, slid instantly out of Harrys

IF WE DIE FOR THEM, ILL KILL YOU, HARRY! roared Rons voice, and, as a great flaming chimaera bore down upon them, he and Hermione dragged Goyle onto their broom and rose, rolling and pitching, into the air once more as Malfoy clambered up behind Harry.

The door, get to the door, the door! screamed Malfoy in Harrys ear, and Harry sped up, following Ron, Hermione, and Goyle through the billowing black smoke, hardly able to breathe: and all around them the last few objects unburned by the devouring flames were flung into the air, as the creatures of the cursed fire cast them high in celebration: cups and shields, a sparkling necklace, and an old, discolored tiara

What are you doing, what are you doing, the doors that way! screamed Malfoy, but Harry made a hairpin swerve and dived. The diadem seemed to fall in slow motion, turning and glittering as it dropped toward the maw of a yawning serpent, and then he had it, caught it around his wrist

Harry swerved again as the serpent lunged at him; he soared upward and straight toward the place where, he prayed, the door stood open; Ron, Hermione and Goyle had vanished; Malfoy was screaming and holding Harry so tightly it hurt. Then, through the smoke, Harry saw a rectangular patch on the wall and steered the broom at it, and moments later clean air filled his lungs and they collided with the wall in the corridor beyond.

Malfoy fell off the broom and lay facedown, gasping, coughing, and retching. Harry rolled over and sat up: The door to the Room of Requirement had vanished, and Ron and Hermione sat panting on the floor beside Goyle, who was still unconscious.

C-Crabbe, choked Malfoy as soon as he could speak. C-Crabbe

Hes dead, said Ron harshly.

There was silence, apart from panting and coughing. Then a number of huge bangs shook the castle, and a great cavalcade of transparent figures galloped past on horses, their heads screaming with bloodlust under their arms. Harry staggered to his feet when the Headless Hunt had passed and looked around: The battle was still going on all around him. He could hear more scream than those of the retreating ghosts. Panic flared within him.

Wheres Ginny? he said sharply. She was here. She was supposed to be going back into the Room of Requirement.

Blimey, dyou reckon itll still work after that fire? asked Ron, but he too got to his feet, rubbing his chest and looking left and right. Shall we split up and look?

No, said Hermione, getting to her feet too. Malfoy and Goyle remained slumped hopelessly on the corridor floor; neither of them had wands. Lets stick together. I say we goHarry, whats that on your arm?

What? Oh yeah

He pulled the diadem from his wrist and held it up. It was still hot, blackened with soot, but as he looked at it closely he was just able to make out the tiny words etched upon it; WIT BEYOND MEASURE IS MANS GREATEST TREASURE.

A bloodlike substance, dark and tarry, seemed to be leaking from the diadem. Suddenly Harry felt the thing vibrate violently, then break apart in his hands, and as it did so, he thought he heard the faintest, most distant scream of pain, echoing not from the grounds or the castle, but from the thing that had just fragmented in his fingers.

It must have been Fiendfyre! whimpered Hermione, her eyes on the broken piece.

Sorry?

Fiendfyrecursed fireits one of the substances that destroy Horcruxes, but I would never, ever have dared use it, its so dangeroushow did Crabbe know how to?

Mustve learned from the Carrows, said Harry grimly.

Shame he wasnt concentrating when they mentioned how to stop it, really, said Ron, whose hair, like Hermiones, was singed, and whose face was blackened. If he hadnt tried to kill us all, Id be quite sorry he was dead.

But dont you realize? whispered Hermione. This means, if we can just get the snake

But she broke off as yells and shouts and the unmistakable noises of dueling filled the corridor. Harry looked around and his heart seemed to fail: Death Eaters had penetrated Hogwarts. Fred and Percy had just backed into view, both of them dueling masked and hooded men.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione ran forward to help: Jets of light flew in every direction and the man dueling Percy backed off, fast: Then his hood slipped and they saw a high forehead and streaked hair

Hello, Minister! bellowed Percy, sending a neat jinx straight at Thicknesse, who dropped his wand and clawed at the front of his robes, apparently in awful discomfort. Did I mention Im resigning?

Youre joking, Perce! shouted Fred as the Death Eater he was battling collapsed under the weight of three separate Stunning Spells. Thicknesse had fallen to the ground with tiny spikes erupting all over him; he seemed to be turning into some form of sea urchin. Fred looked at Percy with glee.

You actually are joking, Perce I dont think Ive heard you joke since you were

The air exploded. They had been grouped together, Harry, Ron, Hermione, Fred, and Percy, the two Death Eaters at their feet, one Stunned, the other Transfigured; and in that fragment of a moment, when danger seemed temporarily at bay, the world was rent apart, Harry felt himself flying through the air, and all he could do was hold as tightly as possible to that thin stick of wood that was his one and only weapon, and shield his head in his arms: He heard the screams and yells of his companions without a hope of knowing what had happened to them

And then the world resolved itself into pain and semidarkness: He was half buried in the wreckage of a corridor that had been subjected to a terrible attack. Cold air told him that the side of the castle had been blown away, and hot stickiness on his cheek told him that he was bleeding copiously. Then he heard a terrible cry that pulled at his insides, that expressed agony of a kind neither flame nor curse could cause, and he stood up, swaying, more frightened than he had been that day, more frightened, perhaps, than he had been in his life

And Hermione was struggling to her feet in the wreckage, and three redheaded men were grouped on the ground where the wall had blasted apart. Harry grabbed Hermiones hand as they staggered and stumbled over stone and wood.

Nonono! someone was shouting. No! Fred! No! And Percy was shaking his brother, and Ron was kneeling beside them, and Freds eyes stared without seeing, the ghost of his last laugh still etched upon his face.


:

  1. A chill that had nothing to do with the iced champagne was stealing through Harrys chest.
  2. A dark figure came bustling toward them, and Harry saw a glint of silver to the light of their wands. They had found Gryffindors sword.
  3. A mixture of gratitude and shame welled up in Harry. Had Lupin forgiven him, then, for the terrible things he had said when they had last met?
  4. A motherly-looking Healer wearing a tinsel wreath in her hair came bustling up the corridor, smiling warmly at Harry and the others.
  5. A paralyzing terror filled Harry so that he couldnt move or speak. His Patronus flickered and died.
  6. A seam had split on Hermiones bag. Harry wasnt surprised; he could see that it was crammed with at least a dozen large and heavy books.
  7. A Short Course in Human Relations
  8. A Short Course in Human Relations
  9. A terrible rasping, gurgling noise issued from Snapes throat.
  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 whistling in Harrys ear told him the Bludger had just missed him again; he turned right over and sped in the opposite direction.
  12. A young witch with short blonde hair poked her head around the curtain; Harry saw that she too was wearing magenta staff robes.




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A roaring, billowing noise behind him gave him a moments warning. He turned and saw both Ron and Crabbe running as hard as they could up the aisle toward them. | THE ELDER WAND

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