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There was another yell from below, rather louder than the last. Malfoy looked nervously over his shoulder again, then back at Dumbledore, who went on, 'So poor Rosmerta was forced to lurk in her own bathroom and pass that necklace to any Hogwarts student who entered the room unaccompanied? And the poisoned mead ... well, naturally, Rosmerta was able to poison it for you before she sent the bottle to Slughorn, believing that it was to be my Christmas present ... yes, very neat ... very neat ... poor Mr Filch would not, of course, think to check a bottle of Rosmerta's ... tell me, how have you been communicating with Rosmerta? I thought we had all methods of communication in and out of the school monitored.'
They had reached the hospital wing. Pushing open the doors, Harry saw Neville lying, apparently asleep, in a bed near the door. Ron, Hermione, Luna, Tonks, and Lupin were gathered around another bed near the far end of the ward. At the sound of the doors opening, they all looked up. Hermione ran to Harry and hugged him; Lupin moved forward too, looking anxious.
"No, Potter!" screamed Snape. There was a loud BANG and Harry was soaring backward, hitting the ground hard again, ;un\ this time his wand flew out of his hand. He could hear Hagrid yelling and Fang howling as Snape closed in and looked down on him where he lay, wandless and defenseless as Dumbledore hadl been. Snape's pale face, illuminated by the flaming cabin, was suffused with hatred just as it had been before he had cursed Dumbledore.
He wheeled around, pulled open the front door, and slammed it so hard that one of the little panes of glass at the top fell out.
Harry froze. He knew that Hagrid would never send him anything dangerous on purpose, but then, Hagrid didn't have a normal person's view of what was dangerous. Hagrid had been known to befriend giant spiders, buy vicious, three-headed dogs from men in pubs, and sneak illegal dragon eggs into his cabin.
"St. Brutus's," said Uncle Vernon promptly. "It's a first-rate institution for hopeless cases."
"I'm not hurt," said Harry. !
'I've been hoping to have a word ... do you mind if I walk a little way with you?'
All the best,
But Harry didn't have long to brood. In next to no time, Aunt Petunia was shrieking up the stairs for Harry to come down and get ready to welcome their guest.
'No,' he said. 'I've got back-up. There are Death Eaters here in your school tonight.'
"He's dead. Snape killed him...."
"There will probably be some contamination, Arthur," .said Lupin. "It is an odd case, possibly unique. . . . We don't know what his behavior might be like when he awakens. . . ."
Harry rose early to pack the next day; the Hogwarts Express would be leaving an hour after the funeral. Down-stairs he found the mood in the Great Hall subdued. Every-body was wearing their dress robes and no one seemed very hungry. Professor McGonagall had left the thronelike chair in the middle of the staff table empty. Hagrid's chair was des-erted too: Harry thought thai perhaps he had not been able to face breakfast; but Snape's place had been unceremoniously filled by Rufus Scrimgeour. Harry avoided his yellowish eyes as they scanned the Hall; Harry had the uncomfortable feeling that Scrimgeour was looking for him. Among Scrimgeour's entourage Harry spotted the red hair and horn-rimmed glasses of Percy Weasley. Ron gave no sign that he was aware of Percy, apart from stabbing pieces of kipper with unwonted venom.
Cornelius Fudge walked past them towards the front rows, his expression miserable, twirling his green bowler hat as usual; Harry next recognised Rita Skeeter, who, he was infuri-ated to see, had a notebook clutched in her red-takmed hand; and then, with a worse jolt of fury, Dolores Umbridge, an unconvincing expression of grief upon her toadlike face, a black velvet bow set atop her iron-coloured curls. At the sight of the centaur Firenze, who was standing like a sentinel near the water's edge, she gave a start and scurried hastily into a seat a good distance away.。