– CHAPTER SIX
The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black
Mrs Weasley followed them upstairs looking grim.
‘I want you all to go straight to bed, no talking,’ she said as they reached the first landing, ‘we’ve got a busy day tomorrow. I expect Ginny’s asleep,’ she added to Hermione, ‘so try not to wake her up.’
‘Asleep, yeah, right,’ said Fred in an undertone, after Hermione bade them goodnight and they were climbing to the next floor. ‘If Ginny’s not lying awake waiting for Hermione to tell her everything they said downstairs then I’m a Flobberworm…’
‘All right, Ron, Harry,’ said Mrs Weasley on the second landing, pointing them into their bedroom. ‘Off to bed with you.’
‘Night,’ Harry and Ron said to the twins.
‘Sleep tight,’ said Fred, winking.
Mrs Weasley closed the door behind Harry with a sharp snap. The bedroom looked, if anything, even danker and gloomier than it had on first sight. The blank picture on the wall was now breathing very slowly and deeply, as though its invisible occupant was asleep. Harry put on his pyjamas, took off his glasses and climbed into his chilly bed while Ron threw Owl Treats up on top of the wardrobe to pacify Hedwig and Pigwidgeon, who were clattering around and rustling their wings restlessly.
‘We can’t let them out to hunt every night,’ Ron explained as he pulled on his maroon pyjamas. ‘Dumbledore doesn’t want too many owls swooping around the square, thinks it’ll look suspicious. Oh yeah… I forgot…’
He crossed to the door and bolted it.
‘What’re you doing that for?’
‘Kreacher,’ said Ron as he turned off the light. ‘First night I was here he came wandering in at three in the morning. Trust me, you don’t want to wake up and
find him prowling around your room. Anyway…’ he got into his bed, settled down under the covers then turned to look at Harry in the darkness; Harry could see his outline by the moonlight filtering in through the grimy window, ‘what d’you reckon?’
Harry didn’t need to ask what Ron meant.
‘Well, they didn’t tell us much we couldn’t have guessed, did they?’ he said, thinking of all that had been said downstairs. ‘I mean, all they’ve really said is that the Order’s trying to stop people joining Vol – ‘
There was a sharp intake of breath from Ron.
‘ – demort,’ said Harry firmly. ‘When are you going to start using his name? Sirius and Lupin do.’
Ron ignored this last comment.
‘Yeah, you’re right,’ he said, ‘we already knew nearly everything they told us, from using the Extendable Ears. The only new bit was -‘
‘Keep your voice down, Ron, or Mum’ll be back up here.’
‘You two just Apparated on my knees!’
‘Yeah, well, it’s harder in the dark.’
Harry saw the blurred outlines of Fred and George leaping down from Ron’s bed. There was a groan of bedsprings and Harry’s mattress descended a few inches as George sat down near his feet.
‘So, got there yet?’ said George eagerly.
The weapon Sirius mentioned?’ said Harry.
‘Let slip, more like,’ said Fred with relish, now sitting next to Ron. ‘We didn’t hear about that on the old Extendables, did we?’
‘What d’you reckon it is?’ said Harry.
‘Could be anything,’ said Fred.
‘But there can’t be anything worse than the Avada Kedavra Curse, can there?’ said Ron. What’s worse than death?’
‘Maybe it’s something that can kill loads of people at once,’ suggested George.
‘Maybe it’s some particularly painful way of killing people,’ said Ron fearfully.
‘He’s got the Cruciatus Curse for causing pain,’ said Harry, ‘he doesn’t need anything more efficient than that.’