By J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Chapter Ten. Kreacher’s Tale
Harry woke early next morning, wrapped in a sleeping bag on the drawing room floor. A chink of sky was visible between the heavy curtains. It was the cool, clear blue of watered ink, somewhere between night and dawn, and everything was quiet except for Ron and Hermione’s slow, deep breathing. Harry glanced over at the dark shapes they made on the floor beside him. Ron had had a fit of gallantry and insisted that Hermione sleep on the cushions from the sofa, so that her silhouette was raised above his. Her arm curved to the floor, her fingers inches from Ron’s. Harry wondered whether they had fallen asleep holding hands. The idea made him feel strangely lonely.
He looked up at the shadowy ceiling, the cobwebbed chandelier. Less than twenty-four house ago, he had been standing in the sunlight at the entrance to the marquee, waiting to show in wedding guests. It
seemed a lifetime away. What was going to happen now? He lay on the floor and he thought of the Horcruxes, of the daunting complex mission Dumbledore had left him… Dumbledore…
The grief that had possessed him since Dumbledore’s death felt different now. The accusations he had heard from Muriel at the wedding seemed to have nested in his brain like diseased things, infecting his memories of the wizard he had idolized. Could Dumbledore have let such things happen? Had he been like Dudley, content to watch neglect and abuse as long as it did not affect him? Could he have turned his back on a sister who was being imprisoned and hidden?
Harry thought of Godric’s Hollow, of graves Dumbledore had never mentioned there; he thought of mysterious objects left without explanation in Dumbledore’s will, and resentment swelled in the darkness. Why hadn’t Dumbledore told him? Why hadn’t he explained? Had Dumbledore actually cared about Harry at all? Or had Harry been nothing more than a tool to be polished and honed, but not trusted, never confided in?
Harry could not stand lying there with nothing but bitter thoughts for company. Desperate for something to do, for distraction, he slipped out of his sleeping bad, picked up his wand, and crept out of the room. On the landing he whispered, “Lumos,” and started to climb the stairs by wandlight.
On the second landing was the bedroom in which he and Ron had slept last time they had been here; he glanced into it. The wardrobe doors stood open and the bedclothes had been ripped back. Harry remembered the overturned troll leg downstairs. Somebody had searched the house since the Order had left. Snape? Or perhaps Mundungus, who had pilfered plenty from this house both before and after Sirius died? Harry’s gaze wandered to the portrait that sometimes contained Phineas Nigellus Black, Sirius’s great-great grandfather, but it was empty, showing nothing but a stretch of muddy backdrop. Phineas Nigellus was evidently spending the night in the headmaster’s study at Hogwarts.
Harry continued up the stairs until he reached the topmost landing where there were only two doors. The one facing him bore a nameplate reading Sirius. Harry had never entered his godfather’s bedroom before. He pushed open the door, holding his wand high to cast light as widely as possible. The room was spacious and must once have been handsome.