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The frosty grass crunched underfoot as they strode down to the stadium.
Slughorn looked down at it for a full ten seconds. Harry wondered, for a moment, whether he was going to shout at him. Then he threw back his head and roared with laughter.
Harry soared around the perimeter of the grounds, looking around for the Snitch and keeping one eye on Harper, who was zigzagging far below him. Then a voice that was jarringly different to the usual commentator's started up.
Harry stepped up to the stone basin and bowed obediently until his face sank through the surface of the memory; he felt the familiar sensation of falling through nothingness and then landed upon a dirty stone floor in almost total darkness.
Hermione was now waving her wand enthusiastically over her cauldron. Unfortunately, they could not copy the spell she was doing because she was now so good at non-verbal incan-tations that she did not need to say the words aloud. Ernie Macmillan, however, was muttering, 'Specialis revelio!' over his cauldron, which sounded impressive, so Harry and Ron hastened to imitate him.
Chapter 17: A sluggish memory
"Gerremoffme!" he yelled, but with one last look of vindictive fury, Hermione wrenched open the door and disappeared through it. Harry thought he heard a sob before it slammed.
"But meanwhile," said George, sitting down at the kitchen table and putting his feet up on it, "we can enjoy watching you demon-strate the correct use of a — whoops-a-daisy!"
"Hang on a moment," he said slowly. "I thought Filch had banned anything bought at Weasley's Wizard Wheezes?"
"Er," said Harry into the sudden silence; he had not expected his plan to backfire like this, "shall. . . shall we go up to the party, then?"
"No," sighed Dumbledore. "He is not very happy with me either. We must try not to sink beneath our anguish, Harry, but battle on."
Lupin took his time chewing his turkey and swallowing before saying slowly, "Sometimes ... a great shock ... an emotional up-heaval ..."
"It's nothing, nothing," said Slughorn, waving away Malfoy's t hanks. "I did know your grandfather, after all...."
Harry looked around as Dumbledore appeared beside him and saw that they were standing in Slughorn's office. Haifa dozen boys were sitting around Slughorn, all on harder or lower seats than his, and all in their mid-teens. Harry recognized Voldemort at once. His was the most handsome face and he looked the most relaxed of all the boys. His right hand lay negligently upon the arm of his chair; with a jolt, Harry saw that he was wearing Marvolo's gold-and-black ring; he had already killed his father.
Harry walked slowly back up the grounds toward the castle through the crowd, many of whom shouted congratulations at him, but he felt a great sense of letdown; he had been sure that if Ron won the match, he and Hermione would be friends again immediately. He did not see how he could possibly explain to Hermi-one that what she had done to offend Ron was kiss Viktor Krum, not when the offense had occurred so long ago.
tudes, Harry brooded for the next few days over what to do next about Slughorn. He decided that, for the time being, he would let Slughorn think that he had forgotten all about Horcruxes; it was surely best to lull him into a false sense of security before returning to the attack.
It was a much younger Horace Slughorn. Harry was so used to him bald that he found the sight of Slughorn with thick, shiny, straw-colored hair quite disconcerting; it looked as though he had had his head thatched, though there was already a shiny Galleon-sized bald patch on his crown. His mustache, less massive than it was these days, was gingery-blond. He was not quite as rotund as the Slughorn Harry knew, though the golden buttons on his richly embroidered waistcoat were taking a fair amount of strain. His little feet resting upon a velvet pouffe, he was sitting well back in a comfortable winged armchair, one hand grasping a small glass of wine, the other searching through a box of crystalized pineapple.？