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Wormtail hesitated for a moment, looking as though he might argue, but then turned and headed through a second hidden door. They heard banging and a clinking of glasses. Within seconds he was back, bearing a dusty bottle and three glasses upon a tray. He dropped these on the rickety table and scurried from their presence, slamming the book-covered door behind him.
"No need to worry, no need to worry!" shouted Fudge, already with one foot in the flames. "We'll have them rounded up in no time--just thought you ought to know!"
"Oh . . . yes ... all right," said Hermione, looking slightly flustered, and following Krum through the crowd and out of sight.
"We're not allowed to talk about it, don't ask me anything" said one agitated Obliviator, who refused to give his name as he left the Ministry last night.
Chapter 3: Will And Won't
"Is it to do with Voldemort?"
"Have you got a new headmaster yet?" said Harry Krum shrugged. He held out his hand as Fleur had done, shook Harry's hand, and then Ron's. Ron looked as though he was suffering some sort of painful internal struggle.
"He's only quacking!" said the Prime Minister weakly. "Surely a bit of a rest... Maybe go easy on the drink..."
"This is, in the main, fairly straightforward," Dumbledore went on. "You add a reasonable amount of gold to your account at Gringotts, and you inherit all of Sirius's personal possessions. The slightly problematic part of the legacy —"
"That can be rearranged," said the portrait at once. The Prime Minister's heart sank. He had been afraid of that.
"You don't have to join the Order to teach at Hogwarts," said Harry, who could not quite keep a note of derision out of his voice: It was hard to sympathize with Slughorn's cosseted existence when he remembered Sirius, crouching in a cave and living on rats. "Most of the teachers aren't in it, and none of them has ever been killed — well, unless you count Quirrell, and he got what he deserved seeing as he was working with Voldemort."
"You're like Ron," she sighed, looking him up and down. "Both of you look as though you've had Stretching jinxes put on you. -=-I Nwcar Ron's grown four inches since I last bought him school robes. Are you hungry, Harry?"
"Sir — what happened to your — ?"
"You can keep using it as headquarters," said Harry. "I don't care. You can have it, I don't really want it." Harry never wanted to set foot in number twelve, Grimmauld Place again if he could help it. He thought he would be haunted forever by the memory of Sirius prowling its dark musty rooms alone, imprisoned within the place he had wanted so desperately to leave.
He left the compartment before they could say another word, stepping over Malfoy, Crabbe,
But Harry had not packed. It just seemed too good to be true that he was going to be rescued from the Dursleys after a mere fortnight of their company. He could not shrug off the feeling that something was going to go wrong — his reply to Dumbledore's letter might have gone astray; Dumbledore could be prevented from collecting him; the letter might turn out not to be from Dumbledore at all, but a trick or joke or trap. Harry had not been able to face packing and then being let down and having to unpack again. The only gesture he had made to the possibility of a journey was to shut his snowy owl, Hedwig, safely in her cage.
Fudge sighed. "Well, of course they are," he said. "Killed in a room that was locked from the inside, wasn't she? We, on the other hand, know exactly who did it, not that that gets us any further toward catching him. And then there was Emmeline Vance, maybe you didn't hear about that one--";