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"I need you to sign the permission form," said Harry in a rush.
As Harry had suspected it would be, the common room was jam-packed. The room fell silent as he climbed through the portrait hole. He saw Dean and Seamus sitting in a group nearby: This meant that the dormitory must be empty, or nearly so. Without speaking to anybody, without making eye contact at all, Harry walked straight across the room and through the door to the boys' dormitories.
All lessons were suspended, all examinations postponed. Some students were hurried away from Hogwarts by their parents over the next couple of days - the Patil twins were gone before breakfast on the morning following Dumbledore's death and Zacharias Smith was escorted from the castle by his haughty-looking father. Seamus Finnigan, on the other hand, refused point-blank to accompany his mother home; they had a shouting match in the Entrance Hall which was resolved when she agreed that he could remain behind for the funeral. She had difficulty in finding a bed in Hogsmeade, Seamus told Harry and Ron, for wizards and witches were pouring into the village, preparing to pay their last respects to Durnbledore.
Aunt Marge reached for her glass of wine.
"Our Great-Auntie Muriel," said Mrs. Weasley after a long pause, "has a very beautiful tiara - goblin-made - which I am sure I could persuade her to lend you for the wedding. She is very fond of Bill, you know, and it would look lovely with your hair."
We'll be back about a week before term starts and we'll be going up to London to get my wand and our new books. Any chance of meeting you there?
"What, Voldemort?" said Harry, without thinking.
"And in that case," said Harry, "you shouldn't send the students home until the jfuneral's over. They'll want to say -"
He had no desire at all to see, or be interrogated by, Rufus Scrimgeour tonight.
At last, at long last, the final evening of Marge's stay arrived. Aunt Petunia cooked a fancy dinner and Uncle Vernon uncorked several bottles of wine. They got all the way through the soup and the salmon without a single mention of Harry's faults; during the lemon meringue pie, Uncle Vernon bored them A with a long talk about Grunnings, his drill-making company; then Aunt Petunia made coffee and Uncle Vernon brought out a bottle of brandy.
"He's dead. Snape killed him...."
"And then Snape was there," said Tonks, "and then he wasn't -"
The doors of the hospital wing burst open, making them all jump: Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were striding up the ward, Fleur just behind them, her beautiful face terrified.
Sirius Black, possibly the most infamous prisoner ever to be held in Azkaban fortress, is still eluding capture, the Ministry of Magic confirmed today.
There was a bang and shouts from below, louder than ever; it sounded as though people were fighting on the actual spiral staircase that led to where Dumbledore, Malfoy and Harry stood, and Harry's heart thundered unheard in his invisible chest ... someone was dead ... Malfoy had stepped over the body ... but who was it?？