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Bellatrix's mouth fell open. Snape lowered himself so that he was kneeling opposite Narcissa. Beneath Bellatrix's astonished gaze, they grasped right hands.
"That I don't trust you, Snape, as you very well know!"
"I thought you must know about it!" said Narcissa, breathing more freely. "He trusts you so, Severus. ..."
"Yes," said Harry, and his heart beat a little faster.
The Prime Minister sank, weak-kneed, into the nearest chair. The idea of invisible creatures swooping through the towns and countryside, spreading despair and hopelessness in his voters, made him feel quite faint.
"But while I was at the Dursleys' ..." interrupted Harry, his voice growing stronger, "I realized I can’t shut myself away or — or crack up. Sirius wouldn't have wanted that, would he? And anyway, life's too short. . . . Look at Madam Bones, look at Emmeline Vance. ... It could be me next, couldn't it? But if it is," he said fiercely, now looking straight into Dumbledore's blue eyes gleaming in the wandlight, "I'll make sure I take as many Death Eaters with me as I can, and Voldemort too if I can manage it."
"I don't care," said Harry again, looking with disgust at the writhing, stamping house-elf. "I don't want him."
Dumbledore glanced up and down the street. It seemed quite deserted.
But they had seen each other again. Less than a year later a harassed-looking Fudge had appeared out of thin air in the cabinet room to inform the Prime Minister that there had been a spot of bother at the Kwidditch (or that was what it had sounded like) World Cup and that several Muggles had been "involved," but that the Prime Minister was not to worry, the fact that You-Know-Who's Mark had been seen again meant nothing; Fudge was sure it was an isolated incident, and the Muggle Liaison Office was dealing with all memory modifications as they spoke.
"But for heaven's sake--you're wizards! You can do magic! Surely you can sort out--well--anything!"
"Correct. I returned two hours later. I returned on Dumbledore's orders."
"Aren't you listening, Narcissa? Oh, he'll try, I'm sure. . . . The usual empty words, the usual slithering out of action . . . oh, on the Dark Lord's orders, of course!"
The door opened at once. There stood Mrs. Weasley, short, plump, and wearing an old green dressing gown.
"Harry, dear! Gracious, Albus, you gave me a fright, you said not to expect you before morning!"
"Hmpf. Yes, well. You shouldn't have favorites as a teacher, of course, but she was one of mine. Your mother," Slughorn added, in answer to Harry’s questioning look. "Lily Evans. One of the brightest I ever taught. Vivacious, you know. Charming girl. I used to tell her she ought to have been in my House. Very cheeky answers I used to get back too." <
But Narcissa had rushed ahead. Rubbing her hand, her pursuer followed again, keeping her distance now, as they moved deeper into the deserted labyrinth of brick houses. At last, Narcissa hurried up a street named Spinner's End, over which the towering mill chimney seemed to hover like a giant admonitory finger. Her footsteps echoed on the cobbles as she passed boarded and broken windows, until she reached the very last house, where a dim light glimmered through the curtains in a downstairs room.。