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"And I think Harper of Slytherin's seen the Snitch!" said Zacharias Smith through his megaphone. "Yes, he's certainly seen something Potter hasn't!"
"I hear that you met the Minister of Magic over Christmas?" "Yes," said Harry. "He's not very happy with me."
"You are determined to hate him, Harry," said Lupin with a faint smile. "And I understand; with James as your father, with Sir-ius as your godfather, you have inherited an old prejudice. By all means tell Dumbledore what you have told Arthur and me, but do not expect him to share your view of the matter; do not even expect him to be surprised by what you tell him. It might have been on Dumbledore's orders that Severus questioned Draco." ;
'Settle down, settle down, please! Quickly, now, lots of work to get through this afternoon! Golpalott's Third Law ... who can tell me -? But Miss Granger can, of course!'
Harry had barely a second ' s warning; he heard Malfoy's footsteps on the other side of the door and flung himself out of the way just as it burst open . Malfoy was striding away down the corridor, past the open door of Slughorns office, around the distant corner, and out of sight. Hardly daring to breathe, Harry remained crouched down as Snape emerged slowly from the classroom. His expression unfath-omable, he returned to the party. Harry remained on the floor, hid-den beneath the cloak, his mind racing.
"I couldn't," said Harry. "I promised Dumbledore I wouldn't wander off while I'm staying here."
"Hi, Harry," said Parvati who, like Harry, looked faintly embarrassed and bored by the behavior of their two friends.
It took him several seconds to recognize the place, by which time Dumbledore had landed beside him. The Gaunts' house was now more indescribably filthy than anywhere Harry had ever seen. The ceiling was thick with cobwebs, the floor coated in grime; moldy and rotting food lay upon the table amidst a mass of crusted pots. The only light came from a single guttering candle placed at the feet of a man with hair and beard so overgrown Harry could see neither eyes nor mouth. He was slumped in an armchair by the fire, and Harry wondered for a moment whether he was dead. But
"Cheer up, Ron!" called Lavender. "I know you'll be brilliant!" : Ron ignored her.
This was pure imagination, however, as he had had no opportu-nity to tell Hermione what he had overheard. She had disappeared from Slughorn's party before he returned to it, or so he had been informed by an irate McLaggen, and she had already gone to bed by the time he returned to the common room. As he and Ron had left for the Burrow early the next day, he had barely had time to wish her a happy Christmas and to tell her that he had some very important news when they got back from the holidays. He was not entirely sure that she had heard him, though; Ron and Lavender had been saying a thoroughly nonverbal good-bye just behind him at the time.
'I would like each of you to place yourselves now so that you have a clear five feet of space in front of you.'
"Oh, ha ha.."
He bellowed the last word and, before Harry could say another word, slammed the dungeon door behind him.
"Oh," he said, drawing up short at the sight of Harry and Hermione.
Chapter 15: The Unbreakable Vow
"As he moved up the school, he gathered about him a group of dedicated friends; I call them that, for want of a better term, although as I have already indicated, Riddle undoubtedly felt no affection for any of them. This group had a kind of dark glamour within the castle. They were a motley collection; a mixture of the weak seeking protection, the ambitious seeking some shared glory, and the thuggish gravitating toward a leader who could show them more refined forms of cruelty. In other words, they were the forerunners of the Death Eaters, and indeed some of them became the first Death Eaters after leaving Hogwarts.