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"That's decided, then," said Hermione briskly, getting to her feet and performing a graceful pirouette. "Destination . . . determina-tion . . . deliberation . . ." she murmured.

"— kicky, scratchy!" cried Peeves happily, now pelting bits of' chalk at the elves to enrage them further. "Tweaky, pokey!"

'They were a birthday present!' shouted Ron, revolving slowly in midair as he struggled to get free. '1 offered you one, didn't 1?'

Hermione stared at him. "What on earth makes you say that?"

It was evening; the hospital wing was quiet, the windows curtained, the lamps lit. Ron's was the only occupied bed. Harry, Hermione, and Ginny were sitting around him; they had spent all day waiting outside the double doors, trying to see inside whenever somebody went in or out. Madam Pomfrey had only let them enter at eight o'clock. Fred and George had arrived at ten past.


"Ah well," said Slughorn cheerily, "as we're so few, we'll do something for fun. I want you all to brew me up something amusing!"

'How did you do?' asked Ron, hurrying towards Harry. '1 think 1 felt something the last time I tried - a kind of tingling in my feet.'

"Will you give him back his bat and get back to the goal posts!" roared Harry, pelting toward McLaggen just as McLaggen took a ferocious swipe at the Bludger and mishit it.

"I wonder whether you know what it is, Tom? Pick it up, have a good look!" whispered Hepzibah, and Voldemort stretched out a long-fingered hand and lifted the cup by one handle out of its snug silken wrappings. Harry thought he saw a red gleam in his dark eyes. His greedy expression was curiously mirrored on Hepzibah’s face, except that her tiny eyes were fixed upon Voldemort's handsome features.

They turned just in time to see the shadow of Argus Filch looming over the wall behind them before the man himself turned the corner, hunchbacked, his jowls aquiver.


"I am glad to hear that you consider them friends," said Dumbledore. "I was under the impression that they are more in the order of servants."

Dumbledore raised his eyebrows. "And what will become of those whom you command? What will happen to those who call themselves — or so rumor has it — the Death Eaters?"

'Great idea,' said Harry. Lavender was waiting beside the portrait hole, a complication Harry had not foreseen.

Harry and Slughorn watched him. For a moment, Ron beamed at them. Then, very slowly, his grin sagged and van-ished, to be replaced by an expression of utmost horror.

"Sir," said Seamus, "I've been wondering, how do you tell the difference between an Inferius and a ghost? Because there was something in the paper about an Inferius —"


He threw the package across on to Ron's bed, where it joined a small pile of them that must, Harry assumed, have been delivered by house-elves in the night.


"Would you call getting poisoned being interesting?" asked Harry. "Anyway — sorry, got to go — there's McLaggen coming for a talk about Quidditch," said Harry hurriedly, and he dashed sideways through a door pretending to be solid wall and sprinted down the shortcut that would take him off to Potions where, thankfully, neither Lavender nor McLaggen could follow him.


"Kreacher will not insult Harry Potter in front of Dobby, no he won't, or Dobby will shut Kreacher's mouth for him!" cried Dobby in a high-pitched voice.


Their dormitory was, as Ham' had hoped, empty. He flung open his trunk and began to rummage in it, while Ron watched impatiently.,


"And thirdly, as a teacher, he would have had great power and influence over young witches and wizards. Perhaps he had gained the idea from Professor Slughorn, the teacher with whom he was on best terms, who had demonstrated how influential a role a teacher can play. I do not imagine for an instant that Voldemort envisaged spending the rest of his life at Hogwarts, but I do think that he saw it as a useful recruiting ground, and a place where he might begin to build himself an army.";