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Mr. Weasley looked around. Everybody looked quickly at the window; Ginny stood up for a better look. There, sure enough, was Percy Weasley, striding across the snowy yard, his horn-rimmed glasses glinting in the sunlight. He was not, however, alone.
Worple, who was a small, stout, bespectacled man, grabbed Harry's hand and shook it enthusiastically; the vampire Sanguini, who was tall and emaciated with dark shadows under his eyes, merely nodded. He looked rather bored. A gaggle of girls was standing close to him, looking curious and excited.
"Yes, he's a vampire," said Luna matter-of-factly. "Father wrote a very long article about it when Scrimgeour first took over from Cornelius Fudge, but he was forced not to publish by somebody from the Ministry. Obviously, they didn't want the truth to get out!"
Just shove a bezoar down their throats.
"Yes, I speak it," said Riddle. He moved forward into the room, allowing the door to swing shut behind him. Harry could not help but feel a resentful admiration for Voldemort's complete lack of fear. His race merely expressed disgust and, perhaps, disappointment.
He waited for Harry to say something, but Harry did not oblige, : so he went on, "I have been hoping for an occasion to talk to you ever since I gained office, but Dumbledore has — most under-standably, as I say — prevented this."
"But surely, sir," he said, keeping his voice as respectful as possible, "you don't need me — you could use Legilimency ... or Veritaserum. ..."
"Oh, ha ha.."
"Oh, well, nothing at all onerous, I assure you," said Scrim-geour. "If you were to be seen popping in and out of the Ministry from time to time, for instance, that would give the right impres-sion. And of course, while you were there, you would have ample : opportunity to speak to Gawain Robards, my successor as Head of the Auror office. Dolores Umbridge has told me that you cherish an ambition to become an Auror. Well, that could be arranged very easily. ..."
"That Muggle what my sister took a fancy to, that Muggle what lives in the big house over the way," said Morfin, and he spat unexpectedly upon the floor between them. "You look right like him. Riddle. But he's older now, in 'e? He's older'n you, now I think on it. ..."
She looked scandalized. Bending low so that only Harry could hear her, she hissed, "You should be expelled for that. I'd never have believed it of you, Harry!"
'Sir,' said Harry desperately, '1 just thought there might be a
Harry did not answer, but pretended to be absorbed in the book they were supposed to have read before Charms next morning (Quintessence: A Q uest). Determined as he was to remain friends with both Ron and Hermione, he was spending a lot of time with his mouth shut tight.
"You considered Smith?" said Harry, revoked.
Nothing Harry said made any difference. He tried boosting Ron's confidence all through dinner, but Ron was too busy being grumpy and surly with Hermione to notice. Harry persisted in the common room that evening, but his assertion that the whole team would be devastated if Ron left was somewhat undermined by the fact that the rest of the team was sitting in a huddle in a distant corner, clearly muttering about Ron and casting him nasty looks. Finally Harry tried getting angry again in the hope of provoking Ron into a defiant, and hopefully goal-saving, attitude, but this strategy did not appear to work any better than encouragement; Ron went to bed as dejected and hopeless as ever.
Harrys presents included a sweater with a large Golden Snitch worked onto the front, hand-knitted by Mrs. Weasley, a large box of Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes products from the twins, and a slightly damp, moldy-smelling package that came with a label read-ing To Master, From Kreacher,？