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Neither of them mentioned Ginny or Hermione again; indeed, they barely spoke to each other that evening and got into bed in si-lence, each absorbed in his own thoughts,
'Look, it's none of your business what I'm doing, Crabbe, you and Goyle just do as you're told and keep a lookout!'
"Gits," said Ron darkly, watching Fred and George setting off across the snowy yard. "Would've only taken them ten seconds and then we could've gone too."
Ron, whose hands and forearms still bore scratches and cuts from Hermione's bird attack, was taking a defensive and resentful tone.
"Shall we have a nightcap, then?" asked Mr. Weasley loudly, leaping to his feet. "Who wants eggnog?"
Chapter 17: A sluggish memory
'Hermione, can't you —'
A moment later, Harry had given a loud yell and leapt out of his camp bed; the package contained a large number of maggots. "Nice," said Ron, roaring with laughter. "Very thoughtful." "I'd rather have them than that necklace," said Harry, which sobered Ron up at once.
'Dumbledore's shown you that - that memory,' said Slughorn. 'Well? Hasn't he?'
Ron and Harry were the last two in the changing room. They were just about to leave when Hermione entered. She was twisting her Gryffindor scarf in her hands and looked upset but determined. "I want a word with you, Harry." She took a deep breath. "Yon shouldn't have done it. You heard Slughorn, its illegal." "What are you going to do, turn us in?" demanded Ron. "What are you two talking about?" asked Harry, turning away to hang up his robes so that neither of them would see him grinning, "You know perfectly well what we're talking about!" said Hermione shrilly. "You spiked Rons juice with lucky potion at breakfast! I'elix Felicis!"
"Well, how did she sustain such extensive brain damage? Care-ful, now!"
Under cover of her furious criticisms of Firenze, Harry drew closer to Hermione and said, "Let ' s get something straight. Are you planning to tell Ron that you interfered at Keeper tryouts?"
"Yes, I'm sure," said Harry. "Why, what does it mean?"
"There's a difference," said Hermione with dignity. "I've got no plans to tell Ron anything about what might, or might not, have happened at Keeper tryouts."
"Very," said Mr. Weasley. "I wouldn't mind if we were getting anywhere, but of the three arrests we've made in the last couple of months, I doubt that one of them is a genuine Death Eater — only don't repeat that, Harry," he added quickly, looking much more awake all of a sudden.
Harry walked slowly back up the grounds toward the castle through the crowd, many of whom shouted congratulations at him, but he felt a great sense of letdown; he had been sure that if Ron won the match, he and Hermione would be friends again immediately. He did not see how he could possibly explain to Hermi-one that what she had done to offend Ron was kiss Viktor Krum, not when the offense had occurred so long ago.
"Well, the start of the school year arrived and with it came Tom Riddle, a quiet boy in his secondhand robes, who lined up with the other first years to be sorted. He was placed in Slytherin House almost the moment that the Sorting Hat touched his head," continued Dumbledore, waving his blackened hand toward the shelf over his head where the Sorting Hat sat, ancient and unmoving. "How soon Riddle learned that the famous founder of the House could talk to snakes, I do not know — perhaps that very evening. The knowledge can only have excited him and increased his sense of self-importance.
"Ah, Sybi l l, we all think our subject's most important!" said a loud voice, and Slughorn appeared at Professor Trelawney s other side, his face very red, his velvet hat a little askew, a glass of mead in one hand and an enormous mince pie in the other. "But I don't t hink I've ever known such a natural at Potions!" said Slughorn, re-garding Harry with a fond, if bloodshot, eye. "Instinctive, you know — like his mother! I've only ever taught a few with this kind of ability, I can tell you that, Sybi l l — why even Severus —" And to Harry's horror, Slughorn threw out an arm and seemed to scoop Snape out of thin air toward them. "Stop skulking and come and join us, Severus!" hiccuped Slughorn happily. "I was just talking about Harry's exceptional po-tion-making! Some credit must go to you, of course, you taught him for five years!",
"That's right," said Dumbledore. "We have no memories to show us this, but I think we can be fairly sure what happened. Voldemort Stupefied his uncle, took his wand, and proceeded across the valley to 'the big house over the way.' There he murdered the Muggle man who had abandoned his witch mother, and, for good measure, his Muggle grandparents, thus obliterating the last of the unworthy Riddle line and revenging himself upon the father who never wanted him. Then he returned to the Gaunt hovel, performed the complex bit of magic that would implant a false memory in his uncle's mind, laid Morfin's wand beside its unconscious owner, pocketed the ancient ring he wore, and departed.";
Whether it had been built that way, or because he had used magical trickery to make it so, Slughorn's office was much larger than the usual teacher's study. The ceiling and walls had been draped with emerald, crimson , and gold hangings, so that it looked as though they were all inside a vast tent. The room was crowded and stuffy and bathed in the red light cast by an ornate golden lamp dangling from the center of the ceiling in which real fairies were fluttering, each a brilliant speck of light. Loud singing accompanied by what sounded like mandolins issued from a distant corner; a haze of pipe smoke hung over several elderly warlocks deep in conversation, and a number of house-elves were negotiating their way squeakily through the forest of knees, obscured by the heavy silver platters of food they were bearing, so that they looked like little roving tables.。