During one of Professor Slughorn's Slug Club parties, Snape was told of Harry's sudden improvement in the art of potion-making. Snape then suspected that his old textbook may have fallen into Harry's hands. When Harry used Sectumsempra on Draco, Snape was able to confirm his suspicions, but was unable to get his hands on the book, as Harry had stashed the book inside the Room of Requirement and used Ron's book as a decoy. As a result, Snape (correctly) accused Harry of being a liar and cheater, and punished him with a multitude of detentions for injuring Malfoy and cheating in potions. Despite knowing Harry's source for the curse, Snape chose not to outright turn Harry in for a harsher punishment, as he feared it would connect himself to being the inventor of the curse. Using this curse greatly shocked Harry, as he did not expect the Prince would have added something so vicious into the notes, and even reprimanded the Prince within his own mind of doing so; nevertheless, he intended on retrieving the book if he had a chance to. As a result of hiding the book from Snape, Harry's potions grade declined sharply from thereon, though Slughorn attributed this to Harry's newfound love with Ginny Weasley.
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Chapter 12: Silver and opals Where was Dumbledore, and what was he doing Harry caught sight of the headmaster only twice over the next few weeks.He rarely appeared at meals anymore, and Harry was sure Hermione wasright in thinking that he was leaving the school for days at a time. HadDumbledore forgotten the lessons he was supposed to be giving HarryDumbledore had said that the lessons were leading to something to do withthe prophecy; Harry had felt bolstered, comforted, and now he felt slightlyabandoned. Halfway through October came their first trip of the term to Hogsmeade.Harry had wondered whether these trips would still be allowed, given theincreasingly tight security measures around the school, but was pleased toknow that they were going ahead; it was always good to get out of the castlegrounds for a few hours. Harry woke early on the morning of the trip, which was proving stormy,and whiled away the time until breakfast by reading his copy of AdvancedPotion-Making. He did not usually lie in bed reading his textbooks; that sortof behavior, as Ron rightly said, was indecent in anybody except Hermione,who was simply weird that way. Harry felt, however, that the Half-BloodPrinces copy of Advanced Potion-Making hardly qualified as a textbook.The more Harry pored over the book, the more he realized how much was inthere, not only the handy hints and shortcuts on potions that was earning himsuch a glowing reputation with Slughorn, but also the imaginative little
jinxes and hexes scribbled in the margins, which Harry was sure, judging bythe crossings-out and revisions, that the Prince had invented himself. Harry had already attempted a few of the Prince's self-invented spells.There had been a hex that caused toenails to grow alarmingly fast (he hadtried this on Crabbe in the corridor, with very entertaining results); a jinxthat glued the tongue to the roof of the mouth (which he had twice used, togeneral applause, on an unsuspecting Argus Filch); and, perhaps most usefulof all, Muffliato, a spell that filled the ears of anyone nearby with anunidentifiable buzzing, so that lengthy conversations could be held in classwith out being overheard. The only person who did not find these charmsamusing was Hermione, who maintained a rigidly disapproving expressionthroughout and refused to talk at all if Harry had used the Muffliato spell onanyone in the vicinity. Sitting up in bed, Harry turned the book sideways so as to examine moreclosely the scribbled instructions for a spell that seemed to have caused thePrince some trouble. There were many crossings-out and alterations, butfinally, crammed into a corner of the page, the scribble: Levicorpus (nvbl) While the wind and sleet pounded relentlessly on the windows, andNeville snored loudly, Harry stared at the letters in brackets. Nvbl . . that hadto mean \"nonverbal.\" Harry rather doubted he would be able to bring off thisparticular spell; he was still having difficulty with nonverbal spells,something Snape had been quick to comment on in every D.A.D.A. class.
On the other hand, the Prince had proved a much more effective teacher thanSnape so far. Pointing his wand at nothing in particular, he gave it an upward flick andsaid Levicorpus! inside his head. \"Aaaaaaaargh!\" There was a flash of light and the room was full of voices: Everyone hadwoken up as Ron had let out a yell. Harry sent Advanced Potion-Makingflying in panic; Ron was dangling upside down in midair as though aninvisible hook had hoisted him up by the ankle. \"Sorry!\" yelled Harry, as Dean and Seamus roared with laughter, andNeville picked himself up from the floor, having fallen out of Bed. \"Hang on-- I'll let you down --\" He groped for the potion book and riffled through it in a panic, trying tofind the right page; at last he located it and deciphered the cramped wordunderneath the spell: Praying that this was the counter-jinx, Harry thoughtLiberacorpus! with all his might. There was another flash of light, and Ronfell in a heap onto his mattress. \"Sorry,\" repeated Harry weakly, while Dean and Seamus continued toroar with laughter. \"Tomorrow,\" said Ron in a muffled voice, \"I'd rather you set the alarmclock.\"
By the time they had got dressed, padding themselves out with several ofMrs. Weasleys hand-knitted sweaters and carrying cloaks, scarves, andgloves, Ron's shock had subsided and he had decided that Harry's new spellwas highly amusing; so amusing, in fact, that he lost no time in regalingHermione with the story as they sat down for breakfast. \"... and then there was another flash, of light and I landed on the bedagain!\" Ron grinned, helping himself to sausages. Hermione had not cracked a smile during this anecdote, and now turnedan expression of wintry disapproval upon Harry. \"Was this spell, by any chance, another one from that potion book ofyours\" she asked. Harry frowned at her. \"Always jump to the worst conclusion, don't you\" \"Was it\" \"Well. . . yeah, it was, but so what\" \"So you just decided to try out an unknown, handwritten incantation andsee what would happen\"
\"Why does it matter if it's handwritten\" said Harry, preferring not toanswer the rest of the question. \"Because it's probably not Ministry of Magic approved,\" said Hermione.\"And also,\" she added, as Harry and Ron rolled their eyes, \"because I'mstarting to think this Prince character was a bit dodgy.\" Both Harry and Ron shouted her down at once. \"It was a laugh!\" said Ron, upending a ketchup bottle over his sausages.\"Just a laugh, Hermione, that's all!\" \"Dangling people upside down by the ankle\" said Hermi-one. \"Who putstheir time and energy into making up spells like that\" \"Fred and George,\" said Ron, shrugging, \"it's their kind of thing. And,er--\" \"My dad,\" said Harry. He had only just remembered. \"What\" said Ron and Hermione together. \"My dad used this spell,\" said Harry. \"I -- Lupin told me.\" 'This last part was not true; in fact, Harry had seen his father use the spellon Snape, but he had never told Ron and Hermione about that particular
excursion into the Pensieve. Now, however, a wonderful possibility occurredto him. Could the Half-Blood Prince possibly be -- \"Maybe your dad did use it, Harry,\" said Hermione, \"but he's not the onlyone. We've seen a whole bunch of people use it, in case you've forgotten.Dangling people in the air. Making them float along, asleep, helpless.\" Harry stared at her. With a sinking feeling, he too remembered thebehavior of the Death Eaters at the Quidditch World Cup. Ron came to hisaid. \"That was different,\" he said robustly. \"They were abusing it. Harry andhis dad were just having a laugh. You don't like the Prince, Hermione,\" headded, pointing a sausage at her sternly, \"because he's better than you atPotions --\" \"It's got nothing to do with that!\" said Hermione, her cheeks reddening. \"Ijust think it's very irresponsible to start performing spells when you don'teven know what they're for, and stop talking about 'the Prince' as if it's histitle, I bet it's just a stupid nickname, and it doesn't seem as though he was avery nice person to me!\" \"I don't see where you get that from,\" said Harry heatedly. \"If he'd been abudding Death Eater he wouldn't have been boasting about being 'half-blood,' would he\"
Even as he said it, Harry remembered that his father had been pure-blood,but he pushed the thought out of his mind; he would worry about that later. \"The Death Eaters can't all be pure-blood, there aren't enough pure-bloodwizards left,\" said Hermione stubbornly. \"I expect most of them are half-bloods pretending to be pure. It's only Muggle-borns they hate, they'd bequite happy to let you and Ron join up.\" \"There is no way they'd let me be a Death Eater!\" said Ron indignantly, abit of sausage flying off the fork he was now brandishing at Hermione andhitting Ernie Macmillan on the head. \"My whole family are blood traitors!That's as bad as Muggle-borns to Death Eaters!\" \"And they'd love to have me,\" said Harry sarcastically. \"We'd be best palsif they didn't keep trying to do me in.\" This made Ron laugh; even Hermione gave a grudging smile, and adistraction arrived in the shape of Ginny. \"Hey, Harry, I'm supposed to give you this.\" It was a scroll of parchment with Harry's name written upon it in familiarthin, slanting writing. \"Thanks, Ginny. . . It's Dumbledore's next lesson!\" Harry told Ron andHermione, pulling open the parchment and quickly read-ing its contents.
\"Monday evening!\" He felt suddenly light and happy. \"Want to join us inHogsmeade, Ginny\" he asked. \"I'm going with Dean -- might see you there,\" she replied, waving atthem as she left. Filch was standing at the oak front doors as usual, checking off the namesof people who had permission to go into Hogsmeade. The process took evenlonger than normal as Filch was triple-checking everybody with his SecrecySensor. \"What does it matter if we're smuggling Dark stuff OUT\" demandedRon, eyeing the long thin Secrecy Sensor with apprehension. \"Surely youought to be checking what we bring back IN\" His cheek earned him a few extra jabs with the Sensor, and he was stillwincing as they stepped out into the wind and sleet. The walk into Hogsmeade was not enjoyable. Harry wrapped his scarfover his lower face; the exposed part soon felt both raw and numb. The roadto the village was full of students bent double against the bitter wind. Morethan once Harry wondered whether they might not have had a better time inthe warm common room, and when they finally reached Hogsmeade andsaw that Zonko's Joke Shop had been boarded up, Harry took it asconfirmation that this trip was not destined to be fun. Ron pointed, with a
thickly gloved hand, toward Honeydukes, which was mercifully open, andHarry and Hermione staggered in his wake into the crowded shop. \"Thank God,\" shivered Ron as they were enveloped by warm, toffee-scented air. \"Let's stay here all afternoon.\" \"Harry, m'boy!\" said a booming voice from behind them. \"Oh no,\" muttered Harry. The three of them turned to see ProfessorSlughorn, who was wearing an enormous furry hat and an overcoat withmatching fur collar, clutching a large bag of crystalized pineapple, andoccupying at least a quarter of the shop. \"Harry, that's three of my little suppers you've missed now!\" saidSlughorn, poking him genially in the chest. \"It won't do, m'boy, I'mdetermined to have you! Miss Granger loves them, don't you\" \"Yes,\" said Hermione helplessly, \"they're really --\" \"So why don't you come along, Harry\" demanded Slughorn. \"Well, I've had Quidditch practice, Professor,\" said Harry, who hadindeed been scheduling practices every time Slughorn had sent him a little,violet ribbon-adorned invitation. This strategy meant that Ron was not leftout, and they usually had a laugh with Ginny, imagining Hermione shut upwith McLaggen and Zabini.
\"Well, I certainly expect you to win your first match after all the hardwork!\" said Slughorn. \"But a little recreation never hurt any body. Now,how about Monday night, you can't possibly want to practice in thisweather....\" \"I can't, Professor, I've got -- er -- an appointment with ProfessorDumbledore that evening.\" \"Unlucky again!\" cried Slughorn dramatically. \"Ah, well . . . you can'tevade me forever, Harry!\" And with a regal wave, he waddled out of the shop, taking as little noticeof Ron as though he had been a display of Cockroach Clusters. \"I can't believe you've wriggled out of another one,\" said Hermione,shaking her head. \"They're not that bad, you know. . . They're even quite funsometimes. . . .\" But then she caught sight of Ron's expression. \"Oh, look --they've got deluxe sugar quills -- those would last hours!\" Glad that Hermione had changed the subject, Harry showed much moreinterest in the new extra-large sugar quills than he would normally havedone, but Ron continued to look moody and merely shrugged whenHermione asked him where he wanted to go next. \"Let's go to the Three Broomsticks,\" said Harry. \"It'll be warm.\"
They bundled their scarves back over their faces and left the sweetshop.The bitter wind was like knives on their faces after the sugary warmth ofHoneydukes. The street was not very busy; nobody was lingering to chat,just hurrying toward their destinations. The exceptions were two men a littleahead of them, standing just outside the Three Broomsticks. One was verytall and thin; squinting through his rain-washed glasses Harry recognized thebarman who worked in the other Hogsmeade pub, the Hog's Head. As Harry,Ron, and Hermione drew closer, the barman drew his cloak more tightlyaround his neck and walked away, leaving the shorter man to fumble withsomething in his arms. They were barely feet from him when Harry realizedwho the man was. \"Mundungus!\" The squat, bandy-legged man with long, straggly, ginger hair jumped anddropped an ancient suitcase, which burst open, releasing what looked likethe entire contents of a junk shop window. \"Oh, 'ello, 'Arry,\" said Mundungus Fletcher, with a most unconvincingstab at airiness. \"Well, don't let me keep ya.\" And he began scrabbling on the ground to retrieve the contents of hissuitcase with every appearance of a man eager to be gone. \"Are you selling this stuff\" asked Harry, watching Mundungus grab anassortment of grubby-looking objects from the ground.
\"Oh, well, gotta scrape a living,\" said Mundungus. \"Gimme that!\" Ron had stooped down and picked up something silver. \"Hang on,\" Ron said slowly. \"This looks familiar --\" \"Thank you!\" said Mundungus, snatching the goblet out of Ron's handand stuffing it back into the case. \"Well, I'll see you all _ OUCH!\" Harry had pinned Mundungus against the wall of the pub by the throat.Holding him fast with one hand, he pulled out his wand. \"Harry!\" squealed Hermione. \"You took that from Sinus's house,\" said Harry, who was almost nose tonose with Mundungus and was breathing in an unpleasant smell of oldtobacco and spirits. \"That had the Black family crest on it.\" \"I -- no -- what -- \" spluttered Mundungus, who was slowly turningpurple. \"What did you do, go back the night he died and strip the place\" snarledHarry. \"I -- no -- \" \"Give it to me!\"
\"Harry, you mustn't!\" shrieked Hermione, as Mundungus started to turnblue. There was a bang, and Harry felt his hands fly off Mundungus's throat.Gasping and spluttering, Mundungus seized his fallen case, then --CRACK-- he Disapparated. Harry swore at the top of his voice, spinning on the spot to see whereMundungus had gone. \"COME BACK, YOU THIEVING -- !\" \"There's no point, Harry.\" Tonks had appeared out of nowhere, her mousyhair wet with sleet. \"Mundungus will probably be in London by now. There's no pointyelling.\" \"He's nicked Sirius's stuff! Nicked it!\" \"Yes, but still,\" said Tonks, who seemed perfectly untroubled by thispiece of information. \"You should get out of the cold.\" She watched them go through the door of the Three Broom-sticks. Themoment he was inside, Harry burst out, \"He was nicking Sirius's stuff!\"
\"I know, Harry, but please don't shout, people are staring,\" whisperedHermione. \"Go and sit down, I'll get you a drink.\" Harry was still fuming when Hermione returned to their table a fewminutes later holding three bottles of butterbeer. \"Can't the Order control Mundungus\" Harry demanded of the other twoin a furious whisper. \"Can't they at least stop him stealing everything that'snot fixed down when he's at headquarters\" \"Shh!\" said Hermione desperately, looking around to make sure nobodywas listening; there were a couple of warlocks sitting close by who werestaring at Harry with great interest, and Zabini was lolling against a pillarnot far away. \"Harry, I'd be annoyed too, I know it's your things he'sstealing--\" Harry gagged on his butterbeer; he had momentarily forgotten that heowned number twelve, Grimmauld Place. \"Yeah, it's my stuff!\" he said. \"No wonder he wasn't pleased to see me!Well, I'm going to tell Dumbledore what's going on, he's the only one whoscares Mundungus.\" \"Good idea,\" whispered Hermione, clearly pleased that Harry wascalming down. \"Ron, what are you staring at\"
\"Nothing,\" said Ron, hastily looking away from the bar, but Harry knewhe was trying to catch the eye of the curvy and attractive bar-maid, MadamRosmerta, for whom he had long nursed a soft spot. \"I expect 'nothing's' in the back getting more firewhisky,\" said Hermionewaspishly. Ron ignored this jibe, sipping his drink in what he evidently considered tobe a dignified silence. Harry was thinking about Sirius, and how he hadhated those silver goblets anyway. Hermione drummed her fingers on thetable, her eyes flickering between Ron and the bar. The moment Harrydrained the last drops in his bottle she said, \"Shall we call it a day and goback to school, then\" The other two nodded; it had not been a fun trip and the weather wasgetting worse the longer they stayed. Once again they drew their cloakstightly around them, rearranged their scarves, pulled on their gloves, thenfollowed Katie Bell and a friend out of the pub and back up the High Street.Harry's thoughts strayed to Ginny as they trudged up the road to Hogwartsthrough the frozen slush. They had not met up with her, undoubtedly,thought Harry, because she and Dean were cozily closeted in MadamPuddifoot's Tea Shop, that haunt of happy couples. Scowling, he bowed hishead against the swirling sleet and trudged on. It was a little while before Harry became aware that the voices of KatieBell and her friend, which were being carried back to him on the wind, hadbecome shriller and louder. Harry squinted at their indistinct figures. The
two girls were having an argument about something Katie was holding inher hand. \"It's nothing to do with you, Leanne!\" Harry heard Katie say. They rounded a corner in the lane, sleet coming thick and fast, blurringHarry's glasses. Just as he raised a gloved hand to wipe them, Leanne madeto grab hold of the package Katie was holding; Katie tugged it back and thepackage fell to the ground. At once, Katie rose into the air, not as Ron had done, suspended comicallyby the ankle, but gracefully, her arms outstretched, as though she was aboutto fly. Yet there was something wrong, something eerie. . . . Her hair waswhipped around her by the fierce wind, but her eyes were closed and herface was quite empty of expression. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Leanne hadall halted in their tracks, watching. Then, six feet above the ground, Katie let out a terrible scream. Her eyesflew open but whatever she could see, or whatever she was feeling, wasclearly causing her terrible anguish. She screamed and screamed; Leannestarted to scream too and seized Katie's ankles, trying to tug her back to theground. Harry, Ron, and Hermione rushed forward to help, but even as theygrabbed Katie's legs, she fell on top of them; Harry and Ron managed tocatch her but she was writhing so much they could hardly hold her. Insteadthey lowered her to the ground where she thrashed and screamed, apparentlyunable to recognize any of them. Harry looked around; the landscape seemed deserted.
\"Stay there!\" he shouted at the others over the howling wind. \"I'm goingfor help!\" He began to sprint toward the school; he had never seen anyone behave asKatie had just behaved and could not think what had caused it; he hurtledaround a bend in the lane and collided with what seemed to be an enormousbear on its hind legs. \"Hagrid!\" he panted, disentangling himself from the hedgerow into whichhe had fallen. \"Harry!\" said Hagrid, who had sleet trapped in his eyebrows and beard,and was wearing his great, shaggy beaverskin coat. \"Jus' bin visitin' Grawp,he's comin' on so well yeh wouldn' --\" \"Hagrid, someone's hurt back there, or cursed, or something --\" \"Wha \" said Hagrid, bending lower to hear what Harry was saying overthe raging wind. \"Someone's been cursed!\" bellowed Harry. \"Cursed Who's bin cursed -- not Ron Hermione\" \"No, it's not them, it's Katie Bell -- this way . . .\"
Together they ran back along the lane. It took them no time to find thelittle group of people around Katie, who was still writhing and screaming onthe ground; Ron, Hermione, and Leanne were all trying to quiet her. \"Get back!\" shouted Hagrid. \"Lemme see her!\" \"Something's happened to her!\" sobbed Leanne. \"I don't know what --\" Hagrid stared at Katie for a second, then without a word, bent down,scooped her into his arms, and ran off toward the castle with her. Withinseconds, Katie's piercing screams had died away and the only sound was theroar of the wind. Hermione hurried over to Katie's wailing friend and put an arm aroundher. \"It's Leanne, isn't it\" The girl nodded. \"Did it just happen all of a sudden, or -- \" \"It was when that package tore,\" sobbed Leanne, pointing at the nowsodden brown-paper package on the ground, which had split open to reveal agreenish glitter. Ron bent down, his hand out-stretched, but Harry seized hisarm and pulled him back.
\"Don't touch it!\" He crouched down. An ornate opal necklace was visible, poking out of thepaper. \"I've seen that before,\" said Harry, staring at the thing. \"It was on displayin Borgin and Burkes ages ago. The label said it was cursed. Katie musthave touched it.\" He looked up at Leanne, who had started to shakeuncontrollably. \"How did Katie get hold of this\" \"Well, that's why we were arguing. She came back from the bathroom inthe Three Broomsticks holding it, said it was a surprise for somebody atHogwarts and she had to deliver it. She looked all funny when she said it. ...Oh no, oh no, I bet she'd been Imperiused and I didn't realize!\" Leanne shook with renewed sobs. Hermione patted her shoulder gently. \"She didn't say who'd given it to her, Leanne\" \"No . . . she wouldn't tell me . . . and I said she was being stupid and notto take it up to school, but she just wouldn't listen and . . . and then I tried tograb it from her . . . and -- and --\" Leanne let out a wail of despair. \"We'd better get up to school,\" said Hermione, her arm still aroundLeanne. \"We'll be able to find out how she is. Come on. . . .\"
Harry hesitated for a moment, then pulled his scarf from around his faceand, ignoring Ron's gasp, carefully covered the necklace in it and picked itup. \"We'll need to show this to Madam Pomfrey,\" he said. As they followed Hermione and Leanne up the road, Harry was thinkingfuriously. They had just entered the grounds when he spoke, unable to keephis thoughts to himself any longer. \"Malfoy knows about this necklace. It was in a case at Borgin and Burkesfour years ago, I saw him having a good look at it while I was hiding fromhim and his dad. This is what he was buying that day when we followedhim! He remembered it and he went back for it!\" , \"I -- I dunno, Harry,\" said Ron hesitantly. \"Loads of people go to Borginand Burkes . . . and didn't that girl say Katie got it in the girls' bathroom\" \"She said she came back from the bathroom with it, she didn't necessarilyget it in the bathroom itself--\" \"McGonagall!\" said Ron warningly. Harry looked up. Sure enough, Professor McGonagall was hurrying downthe stone steps through swirling sleet to meet them.
\"Hagrid says you four saw what happened to Katie Bell -- upstairs to myoffice at once, please! What's that you're holding, Potter\" \"It's the thing she touched,\" said Harry. \"Good lord,\" said Professor McGonagall, looking alarmed as she took thenecklace from Harry. \"No, no, Filch, they're with me!\" she added hastily, asFilch came shuffling eagerly across the entrance hall holding his SecrecySensor aloft. \"Take this necklace to Professor Snape at once, but be sure notto touch it, keep it wrapped in the scarf!\" Harry and the others followed Professor McGonagall upstairs and into heroffice. The sleet-spattered windows were rattling in their frames, and theroom was chilly despite the fire crackling in the grate. ProfessorMcGonagall closed the door and swept around her desk to face Harry, Ron,Hermione, and the still sobbing Leanne. \"Well\" she said sharply. \"What happened\" Haltingly, and with many pauses while she attempted to control hercrying, Leanne told Professor McGonagall how Katie had gone to thebathroom in the Three Broomsticks and returned holding the unmarkedpackage, how Katie had seemed a little odd, and how they had argued aboutthe advisability of agreeing to deliver unknown objects, the argumentculminating in the tussle over the parcel, which tore open. At this point,Leanne was so overcome, there was no getting another word out of her.
\"All right,\" said Professor McGonagall, not unkindly, \"go up to thehospital wing, please, Leanne, and get Madam Pomfrey to give yousomething for shock.\" When she had left the room, Professor McGonagall turned back to Harry,Ron, and Hermione. \"What happened when Katie touched the necklace\" \"She rose up in the air,\" said Harry, before either Ron or Hermione couldspeak, \"and then began to scream, and collapsed. Professor, can I seeProfessor Dumbledore, please\" \"The headmaster is away until Monday, Potter,\" said ProfessorMcGonagall, looking surprised. \"Away\" Harry repeated angrily. \"Yes, Potter, away!\" said Professor McGonagall tartly. \"But anything youhave to say about this horrible business can be said to me, I'm sure!\" For a split second, Harry hesitated. Professor McGonagall did not inviteconfidences; Dumbledore, though in many ways more intimidating, stillseemed less likely to scorn a theory, however wild. This was a life-and-deathmatter, though, and no moment to worry about being laughed at. \"I think Draco Malfoy gave Katie that necklace, Professor.\"
On one side of him, Ron rubbed his nose in apparent embarrassment; onthe other, Hermione shuffled her feet as though quite keen to put a bit ofdistance between herself and Harry. \"That is a very serious accusation, Potter,\" said Professor McGonagall,after a shocked pause. \"Do you have any proof\" \"No,\" said Harry, \"but...\" and he told her about following Malfoy toBorgin and Burkes and the conversation they had over-heard between himand Mr. Borgin. When he had finished speaking, Professor McGonagall looked slightlyconfused. \"Malfoy took something to Borgin and Burkes for repair\" \"No, Professor, he just wanted Borgin to tell him how to mend something,he didn't have it with him. But that's not the point, the thing is that he boughtsomething at the same time, and I think it was that necklace --\" \"You saw Malfoy leaving the shop with a similar package\" \"No, Professor, he told Borgin to keep it in the shop for him --\" \"But Harry,\" Hermione interrupted, \"Borgin asked him if he wanted totake it with him, and Malfoy said no --\"
\"Because he didn't want to touch it, obviously!\" said Harry angrily. \"What he actually said was, 'How would I look carrying that down thestreet'\" said Hermione. \"Well, he would look a bit of a prat carrying a necklace,\" interjected Ron. \"Oh, Ron,\" said Hermione despairingly, \"it would be all wrapped up, sohe wouldn't have to touch it, and quite easy to hide inside a cloak, so nobodywould see it! I think whatever he reserved at Borgin and Burkes was noisyor bulky, something he knew would draw attention to him if he carried itdown the street -- and in any case,\" she pressed on loudly, before Harrycould interrupt, \"I asked Borgin about the necklace, don't you rememberWhen I went in to try and find out what Malfoy had asked him to keep, Isaw it there. And Borgin just told me the price, he didn't say it was alreadysold or anything --\" \"Well, you were being really obvious, he realized what you were up towithin about five seconds, of course he wasn't going to tell you -- anyway,Malfoy could've sent off for it since --\" \"That's enough!\" said Professor McGonagall, as Hermione opened hermouth to retort, looking furious. \"Potter, I appreciate you telling me this, butwe cannot point the finger of blame at Mr. Malfoy purely because he visitedthe shop where this necklace might have been purchased. The same isprobably true of hundreds of people --\"
\"-- that's what I said --\" muttered Ron. \"-- and in any case, we have put stringent security measures in place thisyear. I do not believe that necklace can possibly have entered this schoolwithout our knowledge --\" \"But --\" \"-- and what is more,\" said Professor McGonagall, with an air of awfulfinality, \"Mr. Malfoy was not in Hogsmeade today.\" Harry gaped at her, deflating. \"How do you know, Professor\" \"Because he was doing detention with me. He has now failed to completehis Transfiguration homework twice in a row. So, thank you for telling meyour suspicions, Potter,\" she said as she marched past them, \"but I need togo up to the hospital wing now to check on Katie Bell. Good day to you all.\" She held open her office door. They had no choice but to file past herwithout another word. Harry was angry with the other two for siding with McGonagall;nevertheless, he felt compelled to join in once they started discussing whathad happened.
\"So who do you reckon Katie was supposed to give the necklace to\"asked Ron, as they climbed the stairs to the common room. \"Goodness only knows,\" said Hermione. \"But whoever it was has had anarrow escape. No one could have opened that package without touching thenecklace.\" \"It could've been meant for loads of people,\" said Harry. \"Dumbledore --the Death Eaters would love to get rid of him, he must be one of their toptargets. Or Slughorn -- Dumbledore reckons Voldemort really wanted himand they can't be pleased that he's sided with Dumbledore. Or --\" \"Or you,\" said Hermione, looking troubled. \"Couldn't have been,\" said Harry, \"or Katie would've just turned around inthe lane and given it to me, wouldn't she I was behind her all the way out ofthe Three Broomsticks. It would have made much more sense to deliver theparcel outside Hogwarts, what with Filch searching everyone who goes inand out. I wonder why Malfoy told her to take it into the castle\" \"Harry, Malfoy wasn't in Hogsmeade!\" said Hermione, actually stampingher foot in frustration. \"He must have used an accomplice, then,\" said Harry. \"Crabbe or Goyle-- or, come to think of it, another Death Eater, he'll have loads better croniesthan Crabbe and Goyle now he's joined up --\"
Ron and Hermione exchanged looks that plainly said There's no pointarguing with him. \"Dilligrout,\" said Hermione firmly as they reached the Fat Lady. The portrait swung open to admit them to the common room. It was quitefull and smelled of damp clothing; many people seemed to have returnedfrom Hogsmeade early because of the bad weather. There was no buzz offear or speculation, however: Clearly, the news of Katie's fate had not yetspread. \"It wasn't a very slick attack, really, when you stop and think about it,\"said Ron, casually turfing a first year out of one of the good armchairs by thefire so that he could sit down. \"The curse didn't even make it into the castle.Not what you'd call foolproof.\" \"You're right,\" said Hermione, prodding Ron out of the chair with her footand offering it to the first year again. \"It wasn't very well thought-out at all.\" \"But since when has Malfoy been one of the world's great thinkers\"asked Harry. Neither Ron nor Hermione answered him. 153554b96e