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"Yeah — Ron and Hermione couldn't, though," said Harry. "They're really sorry."
Dumbledore tapped a bottle with his wand, the cork flew out, and he tipped the swirling memory into the Pensieve, saying as he did so, "After you, Harry."
There were only three of them in Potions that afternoon: Harry, Ernie, and Draco Malfoy.
Hermione stared at him. "What on earth makes you say that?"
"Tricky conditions!" McLaggen said bracingly to the team. "Coote, Peakes, you'll want to fly out of the sun, so they don't see you coming —"
"We've been down to see him by night before," said Harry.
"Dumbledore reckons Voldemort wanted Slughorn on his side," said Harry. "Slughorn was in hiding for a year before he came to Hogwarts. And . . ." He thought of the memory Dumbledore had not yet been able to extract from Slughorn. "And maybe Voldemort wants him out of the way, maybe he thinks he could be valuable to Dumbledore."
"Very good," said Dumbledore. "Now, you will remember, I hope, that I told you at the very outset of these meetings of ours that we would be entering the realms of guesswork and speculation?"
Pansy Parkinson let out a high-pitched giggle. Several other peo-ple were smirking. Harry took a deep breath and continued calmly, though his insides were boiling, "Yeah, ghosts are transparent, but Inferi are dead bodies, aren't they? So they'd be solid —"
"Well, yeah I do," said Ron apologetically. "Final score was three hundred and twenty to sixty."
"Well, what Harry said is the most useful if we're trying to tell them apart!" said Ron. "When we come face-to-face with one down a dark alley, we're going to be having a look to see if its solid, aren't we, we're not going to be asking, 'Excuse me, are you the imprint of a departed soul?'" There was a ripple of laughter, instantly quelled by the look Snape gave the class.
Chapter 22: After the Burial
"What on earth is more important than this memory, Harry?" asked Hermione.
"But you said Slughorn had been planning to give th.u Untie to Dumbledore for Christmas," Ginny reminded him. "So the poisoner could just as easily have been after Dumbledore."
The younger Dumbledore seemed to be waiting for something, and sure enough, moments after their arrival, there was a knock on the door and he said, "Enter."
They finished their breakfast in silence. Hermione set off imme-diately for Ancient Runes; Ron for the common room, where he still had to finish his conclusion on Snape's dementor essay, and Harry for the corridor on the seventh floor and the stretch of wall opposite the tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy teaching trolls to do ballet.
"Late again, Potter," said Snape coldly, as Harry hurried into the candlelit classroom. "Ten points from Gryfrindor." Harry scowled at Snape as he flung himself into the seat beside Ron. Half the class were still on their feet, taking out books and orga-nizing their things; he could not be much later than any of them.