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"That was brilliant, Harry!" chortled Ron, once they were safely on their way to break a short while later.


Harry's heart sank. They had arrived at Sirius. He picked up a fork and began shoveling scrambled eggs into his mouth, hoping to deflect any invitation to join in this part of the conversation.

Harry took advantage of the temporary silence to eat more breakfast. Hermione was peering into Fred and George's boxes, though every now and then she cast sideways looks at Harry. Ron, who was now helping himself to Harry’s toast, was still gazing dreamily at the door.

"It is indeed. Ir seems almost foolish to ask," said Slughorn, who was looking mightily impressed, "but I assume you know what it does?"


Harry whispered to Hermione. "I thought he'd have cured it by now, though ... or Madam Pomfrey would've done."

"Your defenses," said Snape, a little louder, "must therefore be as flexible and inventive as rhe arts you seek to undo. These pictures - he indicated a few of them as he swept past - "give a fair representation of what happens to those who suffer, for instance, the Cruciatus Curse" - he waved a hand toward a witch who was clearly shrieking in agony - "feel the Dementor's Kiss" - a wizard lying huddled and blank-eyed, slumped against a wall - "or provoke the aggression of the Inferius" - a bloody mass upon ground.

“Yeah, well, never mind that," said Harry bitterly. "Listen to what he was saying before he found out I was there . . . ."

"Got ev'rything?" asked Hagrid brightly when they reappeared at his side.

"I know I messed up Ancient Runes," muttered Hermione feverishly, "I definitely made at least one serious mistranslation. And the Defense Against the Dark Arts practical was no good at all. I thought Transfiguration went all right at the time, but looking back ?quot;


Fred and George's bedroom was on the second floor. Mrs. Weasley pointed her wand at a lamp on the bedside table and it ignited at once, bathing the room in a pleasant golden glow. Though a large vase of flowers had been placed on a desk in front of the small window, their perfume could not disguise the lingering smell of what Harry thought was gunpowder. A considerable amount of floor space was devoted to a vast number of unmarked, sealed cardboard boxes, amongst which stood Harry's school trunk. The room looked as though it was being used as a temporary warehouse.

The train was gathering speed.

Harry swallowed a large amount of very hot soup and thought he could feel his throat blistering. "That's great!" he gasped.

"... I mean, they wouldn't help much against the Unforgivable Curses, but for minor to moderate hexes or jinxes . . ."

"It's Veritaserum, a colorless, odorless potion thar forces the, drinker to tell the truth," said Hermione.


He glanced around. Mrs. Weasley and Ginny were bending over the Pygmy Puffs. Mr. Weasley was delightedly examining a pack of Muggle marked playing cards. Fred and George were both helping customers. On the other side of the glass, Hagrid was standing with his back to them, looking up and down the street.


Ron and Hermione would think that he had left the train without them. Once they arrived at Hogwarts and took their places in the Great Hall, looked up and down the Gryffindor table a few times, and finally realized that he was not there, he, no doubt, would be halfway back to London.


"Wish the lunch trolley would hurry up, I'm starving," said Ron longingly, slumping into the seat beside Harry and rubbing his stomach. "Hi, Neville. Hi, Luna. Guess what?" he added, turning to Harry. "Malfoy s not doing prefect duty. He's just sitting in his compartment with the other Slytherins, we saw him when we passed."


"Well, of course, I daresay he's busy," said Slughorn, looking questioningly at Belby. "I doubt he invented the Wolfsbane Potion without considerable hard work!",


Harry saw Borgin lick his lips nervously.;