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Fawkes the phoenix looked round, his bright black eyes gleaming with reflected gold from the sunset beyond the window. Dumbledore was standing at the window look-ing out at the grounds, a long, black travelling cloak in his arms.
Harry wiped his grazed forearm upon the stone: Having re-ceived its tribute of blood, the archway reopened instantly. They crossed the outer cave, and Harry helped Dumbledore back into the icy seawater that filled the crevice in the cliff.
'Harry, you were never a good Occlumens -'
"It is essential that you understand this!" said Dumbledore, standing up and striding about the room, his glittering robes swooshing in his wake; Harry had never seen him so agitated. "By attempting to kill you, Voldemort himself singled out the remark-able person who sits here in front of me, and gave him the tools for the job! It is Voldemort's fault that you were able to see into his thoughts, his ambitions, that you even understand the snakelike language in which he gives orders, and yet, Harry, despite your privileged insight into Voldemort's world (which, incidentally, is a gift any Death Eater would kill to have), you have never been se-duced by the Dark Arts, never, even for a second, shown the slight-est desire to become one of Voldemort's followers!"
The ramparts were deserted. The door to the spiral staircase that led back into the castle was closed. There was no sign of a struggle, of a fight to the death, of a body.
But she's ditched Dean!
"Me? Oh . . . okay . . ." Harry had not expected this, but cleared his throat and said loudly, wand aloft, "Accio Horcrux!"
In the midst of all his preoccupations, Harry had not forgotten his other ambition: finding out what Malfoy was up to in the Room of Requirement. He was still checking the Marauder's Map, and as he was unable to locate Malfoy on it, deduced that Malfoy was still spending plenty of time within the room. Although Harry was losing hope that he would ever succeed in getting inside the Room of Requirement, he attempted it whenever he was in the vicinity, but no matter how he reworded his request, the wall remained firmly doorless.
"Thank you," said Harry gratefully, but Dumbledore had al-ready turned his attention back to the solid cave wall. He did not try any more magic, but simply stood there staring at it intently, as though something extremely interesting was written on it. Harry stayed quite still; he did not want to break Dumbledores concen-tration. Then, after two solid minutes, Dumbledore said quietly, "Oh, surely not. So crude."
After several long moments — or it might have been half an hour — or possibly several sunlit days — they broke apart. The room had gone very quiet. Then several people wolf-whistled and there was an outbreak of nervous giggling. Harry looked over the top of Ginny's head to see Dean Thomas holding a shattered glass in his hand, and Romilda Vane looking as though she might throw something. Hermione was beaming, but Harry's eyes sought Ron. At last he found him, still clutching the Cup and wearing an expression appropriate to having been clubbed over the head. For a fraction of a second they looked at each other, then Ron gave a tiny jerk of the head that Harry understood to mean, Well—if you must.
"Well, the password changed at midnight, so you'll just have to sleep in the corridor, won't you?"
"Ten o'clock," whispered Snape, with a smile that showed his yellow teeth. "Poor Gryffindor. . . fourth place this year, I fear ..."
"Of course I haven't!" said Harry indignantly. "He killed my mum and dad!"
'I will,' said Hermione. 'And the first place I'll look,' she shot at him, as she reached the portrait hole, 'is records of old Potions awards!'
'I - well,' said Professor Trelawney, drawing her shawls around her defensively and staring down at him with her vastly magnified eyes. 'I wished to - ah - deposit certain – um - personal items in the Room ...' And she muttered something about 'nasty accusations'.,
The battle still raged inside his head: Ginny or Ron? Sometimes he thought that the post-Lavender Ron might not mind too much if he asked Ginny out, but then he remembered Ron's expression when he had seen her kissing Dean, and was sure that Ron would consider it base treachery if Harry so much as held her hand. . . .。