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"Fantastic!" said Hermione, as Ron unraveled the long, flesh-
"I know, dear, but it's Ministry procedure, and I have to set an example. Something smells good ?onion soup?"
Snape did not speak for a minute or so. Harry felt as though his body was generating waves of hatred so powerful that it seemed incredibie that Snape could not feel them burning him. He had loathed Snape from their first encounter, but Snape had placed himself forever and irrevocably beyond the possibility of Harry's forgiveness by his attitude toward Sirius. Whatever Dumbledore said, Harry had had time to think over the summer, and had concluded that Snape's snide remarks to Sirius about remaining safely hidden while the rest of the Order of the Phoenix were off fighting Voldemort had probably been a powerful factor in Sirius rushing off to the Ministry the night that he had died. Harry clung to this notion, because it enabled him to blame Snape, which felt satisfying, and also because he knew that if anyone was not sorry that Sirius was dead, it was the man now striding next to him in the darkness.
"And that's our stuff you're nicking. Three Galleons, nine Sickles. I'll knock off the Knut."
"Did you hear about Florean Fortescue, Remus?" asked Bill, who was being plied with wine by Fleur. "The man who ran —"
The day after this rather gloomy birthday tea, their letters and booklists arrived from Hogwarts. Harry's included a surprise: he had been made Quidditch Captain.
"Yes," came Mr. Weasley's weary voice. "But I would say that even if I were a Death Eater, dear. Ask the question!"
Slughorn strode over to a corner cupboard and, after a moment's foraging, emerged with two very battered-looking copies of Advanced Potion-Making by Libatius Borage, which he gave to Harry and Ron along with two sets of tarnished scales.
Harry stared at Snape. It was surely one thing to respect the
Harry stifled a yawn behind his hand.
Tom nodded gloomily and returned to wiping glasses; Harry, Hermione, Hagrid, and the Weasleys walked through the bar and out into the chilly little courtyard at the back where the dustbins stood. Hagrid raised his pink umbrella and rapped a certain brick in the wall, which opened at once to form an archway onto a winding cobbled street. They stepped through the entrance and paused, looking around.
"And Hermione," said Ron, "she's not, is she?"
Hermione shook her head, but Harry laughed.
"Muggle magic tricks!" said Fred happily, pointing them out. "For freaks like Dad, you know, who love Muggle stuff. It's not a big earner, but we do fairly steady business, they're great novelties. . . . Oh, here's George. ..."
It would have been a happy, peaceful holiday had it not been for the stones of disappearances, odd accidents, even of deaths now appearing almost daily in the Prophet. Sometimes Bill and Mr. Weasley brought home news before it even reached the paper. To Mrs. Weasley’s displeasure, Harry's sixteenth birthday celebrations were marred by grisly tidings brought to the party by Remus Lupin, who was looking gaunt and grim, his brown hair streaked liberally with gray, his clothes more ragged and patched than ever.;
“Fifty points from Gryffindor for lateness, I think," said Snape. “And, let me see, another twenty for your Muggle attire. You know, I don’t believe any House has ever been in negative figures this early in the term: We haven't even started pudding. You might have set a record, Potter."。