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'Oh, yes, I do,' said Dumbledore mildly. 'You almost killed Katie Bell and Ronald Weasley. You have been trying, with increasing desperation, to kill me all year. Forgive me, Draco, but they have been feeble attempts ... so feeble, to be honest, that I wonder whether your heart has been really in it...'

Harry rummaged once more in his trunk, extracted his money bag, and shoved some gold into Stan's hand. He and Stan then lifted his trunk, with Hedwig's cage balanced on top, up the steps of the bus.

Chapter 30: The White Tomb

"Get the door!" Aunt Petunia hissed at Harry.

'Now, about tonight,' Dumbledore went on, 'I am a little puzzled about how it happened ... you knew that I had left the school? But of course,' he answered his own question, 'Rosmerta saw me leaving, she tipped you off using your ingenious coins, I'm sure ...'


Harry finished writing about Wendelin the Weird and paused to listen again. The silence in the dark house was broken only by the distant, grunting snores of his enormous cousin, Dudley. It must be very late, Harry thought. His eyes were itching with tiredness. Perhaps he'd finish this essay tomorrow night....

"Well said," squeaked Professor Flitwick. "Well said indeed! Our students should pay tribute, it is fitting. We can arrange transport home afterward."

'Well, you're losing your grip, then!' sneered Malfoy. 'He's been offering me plenty of help - wanting all the glory for himself - wanting a bit of the action - "What are you doing? Did you do the necklace, that was stupid, it could have blown everything -" But I haven't told him what I've been doing in the Room of Requirement, he's going to wake up tomorrow and it'll all be over and he won't be the Dark Lord's favourite any more, he'll be nothing compared to me, nothing!'

As Aunt Marge started to make herself at home, Harry caught himself thinking almost longingly of life at number four without her. Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia usually encouraged Harry to stay out of their way, which Harry was only too happy to do. Aunt Marge, on the other hand, wanted Harry under her eye at all times, so that she could boom out suggestions for his improvement. She delighted in comparing Harry with Dudley, and took huge pleasure in buying Dudley expensive presents while glaring at Harry, as though daring him to ask why he hadn't got a present too. She also kept throwing out dark hints about what made Harry such an unsatisfactory person.

He turned the locket over in his hands. This was neither as large as the locket he remembered seeing in the Pensieve, nor were there any markings upon it, no sign of the ornate S that was supposed to be Slytherins mark. Moreover, there was nothing inside but for a scrap of folded parchment wedged tightly into the place where a portrait should have been.


Hermione clapped her hands to her mouth and Ron groaned. Luna's mouth trembled.

"Impedi -"

'None of us could've guessed Snape would ... you know,' said Ron.


"Yeh all righ', Harry? Yeh all righ'? Speak ter me, Harry. . .."


"... The public is warned that Black is armed and extremely dangerous. A special hot line has been set up, and any sighting of Black should be reported immediately."


'It is nearly time,' she said. 'Please follow your Heads of House out into the grounds. Gryffindors, after me.'


"- more Death Eaters arrived - and then Snape - and Snape did it. The Avada Kedavra." Harry couldn't go on.


'Well ... yes,' said Hermione. 'So ... 1 was sort of right. Snape must have been proud of being "half a Prince", you see? Tobias Snape was a Muggie from what it said in the Prophet',


But suddenly footsteps were thundering up the stairs and a second later Malfoy was buffeted out of the way as four people in black robes burst through the door on to the ram-parts. Still paralysed, his eyes staring unblinkingly, Harry gazed in terror upon four strangers: it seemed the Death Eaters had won the fight below.;