LORD VOLDEMORT’S REQUEST

Harry and Ron left the hospital wing first thing on Monday morning, restored to full health by the ministrations of Madam Pomfrey and now able to enjoy the benefits of having been knocked out and poisoned, the best of which was that Hermione was friends with Ron again. Hermione even escorted them down to breakfast, bringing with her the news that Ginny had argued with Dean. The drowsing creature in Harry’s chest suddenly raised its head, sniffing the air hopefully.

“What did they row about?” he asked, trying to sound casual as they turned onto a seventh-floor corridor that was deserted but for a very small girl who had been examining a tapestry of trolls in tutus. She looked terrified at the sight of the approaching sixth years and dropped the heavy brass scales she was carrying.

“It’s all right!” said Hermione kindly, hurrying forward to help her. “Here…”

She tapped the broken scales with her wand and said, “Reparo.” The girl did not say thank you, but remained rooted to the spot as they passed and watched them out of sight; Ron glanced back at her.

“I swear they’re getting smaller,” he said.

“Never mind her,” said Harry, a little impatiently. “What did Ginny and Dean row about, Hermione?”

“Oh, Dean was laughing about McLaggen hitting that Bludger at you,” said Hermione.

“It must’ve looked funny,” said Ron reasonably.

“It didn’t look funny at all!” said Hermione hotly. “It looked terrible and if Coote and Peakes hadn’t caught Harry he could have been very badly hurt!”

“Yeah, well, there was no need for Ginny and Dean to split up over it,” said Harry, still trying to sound casual. “Or are they still together?”

“Yes, they are—but why are you so interested?” asked Hermione, giving Harry a sharp look.

“I just don’t want my Quidditch team messed up again!” he said hastily, but Hermione continued to look suspicious, and he was most relieved when a voice behind them called, “Harry!” giving him an excuse to turn his back on her. “Oh, hi, Luna.”

“I went to the hospital wing to find you,” said Luna, rummaging in her bag. “But they said you’d left…”



She thrust what appeared to be a green onion, a large spotted toadstool, and a considerable amount of what looked like cat litter into Ron’s hands, finally pulling out a rather grubby scroll of parchment that she handed to Harry.

“…I’ve been told to give you this.”


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