Kreacher’s tale

Harrywokeearlynextmorning,wrappedinasleepingbagonthedrawingroomfloor.Achinkofskywasvisiblebetweentheheavycurtains:Itwasthecool,clearblueofwateredink,somewherebetweennightanddawn,andeverythingwasquietexceptforRonandHermione’sslow,deepbreathing.Harryglancedoveratthedarkshapestheymadeonthefloorbesidehim.RonhadhadafitofgallantryandinsistedthatHermionesleeponthecushionsfromthesofa,sothathersilhouettewasraisedabovehis.Herarmcurvedtothefloor,herfingersinchesfromRon’s.Harrywonderedwhethertheyhadfallenasleepholdinghands.Theideamadehimfeelstrangelylonely.

Helookedupattheshadowyceiling,thecobwebbedchandelier.Lessthantwenty-fourhoursago,hehadbeenstandinginthesunlightattheentrancetothemarquee,waitingtoshowinweddingguests.Itseemedalifetimeaway.Whatwasgoingtohappennow?HelayonthefloorandhethoughtoftheHorcruxes,ofthedaunting,complexmissionDumbledorehadlefthim...Dumbledore...

ThegriefthathadpossessedhimsinceDumbledore’sdeathfeltdifferentnow.TheaccusationshehadheardfromMurielattheweddingseemedtohavenestedinhisbrainlikediseasedthings,infectinghismemoriesofthewizardhehadidolized.

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