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J.K.Rwling >> Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix (page 23)


Harry watched them go, feeling slightly uneasy. It had just occurred to him that Mr and Mrs Weasley would want to know how Fred and George were financing their joke shop business when, as was inevitable, they finally found out about it. Giving l he twins his Triwizard winnings had seemed a simple thing to do at the time, but what if it led to another family row and a Percy-like estrangement? Would Mrs Weasley still feel that Harry was as good as her son if she found out he had made it possible for Fred and George to start a career she thought quite unsuitable?

Standing where the twins had left him, with nothing but a guilty weight in the pit of his stomach for company, Harry caught the sound of his own name. Kingsley Shacklebolt's deep voice was audible even over the surrounding chatter.

': why Dumbledore didn't make Potter a prefect?' said Kingsley.

'He'll have had his reasons,' replied Lupin.

'But it would've shown confidence in him. It's what I'd've done,' persisted Kingsley, 'specially with the Daily Prophet having a go at him every few days:"

Harry did not look round; he did not want Lupin or Kingsley to know he had heard. Though not remotely hungry, he followed Mundungus back towards the table. His pleasure in the party had evaporated as quickly as it had come; he wished he were upstairs in bed.

Mad-Eye Moody was sniffing at a chicken-leg with what remained of his nose; evidently he could not detect any trace of poison, because he then tore a strip off it with his teeth.

': the handles made of Spanish oak with anti-jinx varnish and in-built vibration control -' Ron was saying to Tonks.

Mrs Weasley yawned widely.

'Well, I think I'll sort out that Boggart before I turn in: Arthur, I don't want this lot up too late, all right? Night, Harry, dear.'

She left the kitchen. Harry set down his plate and wondered whether he could follow her without attracting attention.

'You all right, Potter?' grunted Moody.

'Yeah, fine,' lied Harry.

Moody took a swig from his hip flask, his electric-blue eye staring sideways at Harry.

'Come here, I've got something that might interest you,' he said.

From an inner pocket of his robes Moody pulled a very tattered old wizarding photograph.

'Original Order of the Phoenix,' growled Moody. 'Found it last night when I was looking for my spare Invisibility Cloak, seeing as Podmore hasn't had the manners to return my best one: thought people might like to see it.'

Harry took the photograph. A small crowd of people, some waving at him, others lifting their glasses, looked back up at him.

There's me,' said Moody, unnecessarily pointing at himself. The Moody in the picture was unmistakable, though his hair was slightly less grey and his nose was intact. 'And there's Dumbledore beside me, Dedalus Diggle on the other side: that's Marlene McKinnon, she was killed two weeks after this was taken, they got her whole family. That's Frank and Alice Longbottom -'

Harry's stomach, already uncomfortable, clenched as he looked at Alice Longbottom; he knew her round, friendly face very well, even though he had never met her, because she was the image of her son, Neville.

'- poor devils,' growled Moody. 'Better dead than what happened to them: and that's Emmeline Vance, you've met her, and that there's Lupin, obviously: Benjy Fenwick, he copped it too, we only ever found bits of him: shift aside there,' he added, poking the picture, and the little photographic people edged sideways, so that those who were partially obscured could move to the front.

That's Edgar Bones: brother of Amelia Bones, they got him and his family, too, he was a great wizard: Sturgis Podmore, blimey, he looks young: Caradoc Dearborn, vanished six months after this, we never found his body: Hagrid, of course, looks exactly the same as ever: Elphias Doge, you've met him, I'd forgotten he used to wear that stupid hat: Gideon Prewett, it took five Death Eaters to kill him and his brother Fabian, they fought like heroes: budge along, budge along:'

The little people in the photograph jostled among themselves and those hidden right at the back appeared at the forefront of the picture.

That's Dumbledore's brother Aberforth, only time I ever met him, strange bloke: that's Dorcas Meadowes, Voldemort killed her personally: Sirius, when he still had short hair: and: there you go, thought that would interest you!'

Harry's heart turned over. His mother and father were beaming up at him, sitting on either side of a small, watery-eyed man whom Harry recognised at once as Wormtail, the one who had betrayed his parents' whereabouts to Voldemort and so helped to bring about their deaths.

'Eh?' said Moody.

Harry looked up into Moody's heavily scarred and pitted face. Evidently Moody was under the impression he had just given Harry a bit of a treat.

'Yeah,' said Harry, once again attempting to grin. 'Er: listen, I've just remembered, I haven't packed my:'

He was spared the trouble of inventing an object he had not packed. Sirius had just said, 'What's that you've got there, Mad-Eye?' and Moody had turned towards him. Harry crossed the kitchen, slipped through the door and up the stairs before anyone could call him back.

He did not know why it had been such a shock; he had seen pictures of his parents before, after all, and he had met Wormtail but to have them sprung on him like that, when he was least expecting it: no one would like that, he thought angrily:

And then, to see them surrounded by all those other happy faces: Benjy Eenwick, who had been found in bits, and Gideon Prewett, who had died like a hero, and the Longbottoms, who had been tortured into madness: all waving happily out of the photograph forever more, not knowing that they were doomed: well, Moody might find that interesting: he, Harry, found it disturbing:

Harry tiptoed up the stairs in the hall past the stuffed elf-heads, glad to be on his own again, but as he approached the first landing he heard noises. Someone was sobbing in the drawing room.

'Hello?' Harry said.

There was no answer but the sobbing continued. He climbed the remaining stairs two at a time, walked across the landing and opened the drawing-room door.

Someone was cowering against the dark wall, her wand in her hand, her whole body shaking with sobs. Sprawled on the dusty old carpet in a patch of moonlight, clearly dead, was Ron.

All the air seemed to vanish from Harry's lungs; he felt as though he were falling through the floor; his brain turned icy cold - Ron dead, no, it couldn't be -

But wait a moment, it couldn't be - Ron was downstairs -

'Mrs Weasley?' Harry croaked.

'R - r - riddikulus!' Mrs Weasley sobbed, pointing her shaking wand at Ron's body.

Crack.

Ron's body turned into Bill's, spread-eagled on his back, his eyes wide open and empty. Mrs Weasley sobbed harder than ever.

'R - riddikulus!' she sobbed again.

Crack.

Mr Weasley's body replaced Bill's, his glasses askew, a trickle of blood running down his face.

'No!' Mrs Weasley moaned. 'No: riddikulus! Riddikulus! RIDDIKULUS!

Crack. Dead twins. Crack. Dead Percy. Crack. Dead Harry:

'Mrs Weasley, just get out of here!' shouted Harry, staring down at his own dead body on the floor. 'Let someone else -'

'What's going on?'

Lupin had come running into the room, closely followed by Sirius, with Moody stumping along behind them. Lupin looked from Mrs Weasley to the dead Harry on the floor and seemed to understand in an instant. Pulling out his own wand, he said, very firmly and clearly:

'Riddikulus!'

Harry's body vanished. A silvery orb hung in the air over the spot where it had lain. Lupin waved his wand once more and the orb vanished in a puff of smoke.

'Oh - oh - oh!' gulped Mrs Weasley, and she broke into a storm of crying, her face in her hands.

'Molly,' said Lupin bleakly, walking over to her. 'Molly don't:"

Next second, she was sobbing her heart out on Lupin's shoulder.

'Molly, it was just a Boggart,' he said soothingly, patting her on the head, 'just a stupid Boggart:'

'I see them d-d - dead all the time!' Mrs Weasley moaned into his shoulder. 'All the t -'t - time! I d - d - dream about it:'

Sirius was staring at the patch of carpet where the Boggart, pretending to be Harry's body, had lain. Moody was looking at Harry, who avoided his gaze. He had a funny feeling Moody's magical eye had followed him all the way out of the kitchen.

'D-d - don't tell Arthur,' Mrs Weasley was gulping now, mopping her eyes frantically with her cuffs. 'I d - d - don't want him to know: being silly:'

Lupin handed her a handkerchief and she blew her nose.

'Harry, I'm so sorry. What must you think of me?' she said shakily. 'Not even able to get rid of a Boggart:'

'Don't be stupid,' said Harry, trying to smile.

'I'm just s -'s - so worried,' she said, tears spilling out of her eyes again. 'Half the f - f - family's in the Order, it'll b - b - be a miracle if we all come through this: and P - P Percy's not talking to us: what if something d-d - dreadful happens and we've never in - in - made it up with him? And what's going to happen if Arthur and I get killed, who's g - g - going to look after Ron and Ginny?'

'Molly that's enough; said Lupin firmly. 'This isn't like last time. The Order are better prepared, we've got a head start, we know what Voldemort's up to -'

Mrs Weasley gave a little squeak of fright at the sound of the name.

'Oh, Molly, come on, it's about time you got used to hearing his name - look, I can't promise no one's going to get hurt, nobody can promise that, but we're much better off than we were last time. You weren't in the Order then, you don't understand. Last time we were outnumbered twenty to one by the Death Eaters and they were picking us off one by one:'

Harry thought of the photograph again, of his parents' beaming faces. He knew Moody was still watching him.

'Don't worry about Percy' said Sirius abruptly. 'He'll come round. It's only a matter of time before Voldemort moves into the open; once he does, the whole Ministry's going to be begging us to forgive them. And I'm not sure I'll be accepting their apology,' he added bitterly.

'And as for who's going to look after Ron and Ginny if you and Arthur died,' said Lupin, smiling slightly, 'what do you think we'd do, let them starve?'

Mrs Weasley smiled tremulously.

'Being silly,' she muttered again, mopping her eyes.

But Harry, closing his bedroom door behind him some ten minutes later, could not think Mrs Weasley silly. He could still see his parents beaming up at him from the tattered old photograph, unaware that their lives, like so many of those around them, were drawing to a close. The image of the Boggart posing as the corpse of each member of Mrs Weasley's family in turn kept flashing before his eyes.

Without warning, the scar on his forehead seared with pain again and his stomach churned horribly.

'Cut it out,' he said firmly, rubbing the scar as the pain receded.

'First sigh of madness, talking to your own head,' said a sly voice from the empty picture on the wall.

Harry ignored it. He felt older than he had ever felt in his life and it seemed extraordinary to him that barely an hour ago he had been worried about a joke shop and who had got a prefects badge.

- CHAPTER TEN -

Luna Lovegood

Harry had a troubled nights sleep. His parents wove in and out of his dreams, never speaking; Mrs Weasley sobbed over Kreacher's dead body, watched by Ron and Hermione who were wearing crowns, and yet again Harry found himself walking down a corridor ending in a locked door. He awoke abruptly with his scar prickling to find Ron already dressed and talking to him.

'better hurry up, Mum's going ballistic, she says we're going to miss the tram -

There was a lot of commotion in the house. From what he heard as he dressed at top speed, Harry gathered that Fred and George had bewitched their trunks to fly downstairs to save the bother of carrying them, with the result that they had hurtled straight into Ginny and knocked her down two flights of stairs into the hall; Mrs Black and Mrs Weasley were both screaming at the top of their voices.

'- COULD HAVE DONE HER A SERIOUS INJURY, YOU IDIOTS -'

'- FILTHY HALF-BREEDS, BESMIRCHING THE HOUSE OF MY FATHERS -'

Hermione came hurrying into the room looking flustered, just as Harry was putting on his trainers. Hedwig was swaying on her shoulder, and she was carrying a squirming Crookshanks in her arms.

'Mum and Dad just sent Hedwig back.' The owl fluttered obligingly over and perched on top of her cage. 'Are you ready yet?'

'Nearly. Is Ginny all right?' Harry asked, shoving on his glasses.

'Mrs Weasley's patched her up,' said Hermione. 'But now Mad-

Eye's complaining that we can't leave unless Sturgis Podmore's here, otherwise the guard will be one short.'

'Guard?' said Harry. 'We have to go to King's Cross with a guard?'

'You have to go to King's Cross with a guard,' Hermione corrected him.

'Why?' said Harry irritably. 'I thought Voldemort was supposed to be lying low, or are you telling me he's going to jump out from behind a dustbin to try and do me in?'

Title: Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix
Author: J.K.Rwling
Viewed 196984 times

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