'But they're legally adults now,' said Mr Weasley, in the same tired voice.
'But why?' said Harry desperately. 'Why's he being so stupid? If Dumbledore - '
he's never quite forgotten how much popular support Dumbledore had, even though Dumbledore never applied for the job.'
'I hope it's our side,' said Ron, sounding slightly nervous.
'Right-o,' Fred said brightly, spraying the Doxy quickly in the face so that it fainted, but the moment Mrs Weasley's back was turned he pocketed it with a wink.
Mrs Weasleys lower lip was trembling. Sirius sank slowly back into his chair, his face white.
'Well, Molly, I'm pretty sure this is a Boggart,' said Sirius, peering through the keyhole, 'but perhaps we ought to let Mad-Eye have a shifty at it before we let it out - knowing my mother, it could be something much worse.'
'Yeah, size is no guarantee of power,' said George. 'Look at Ginny'
'You're not on here!' said Harry, after scanning the bottom of the tree closely.
'All right - squirt!'
'Come on, Harry, haven't you seen enough of this house to tell what kind of wizards my family were?' said Sirius testily.
Kreacher's pale eyes widened and he muttered faster and more furiously than ever.
'You'd be surprised what Kreacher can manage when he wnnts to, Hermione,' said Sirius, who had just entered the room carrying a bloodstained bag of what appeared to be dead rats. 'I've just been feeding Buckbeak,' he added, in reply to Harry's enquiring look. 'I keep him upstairs in my mother's bedroom. Anyway . . . this writing desk . . .'
'Cover your faces and take a spray,' Mrs Weasley said to Harry and Ron the moment she saw them, pointing to two more boitles of black liquid standing on a spindle-legged table. 'It's Doxycide. I've never seen an infestation this bad - what that house-elf's Veen doing for the last ten years - '
'What's wrong, Harry, is that you are not your father, however much you might look like him!' said Mrs Weasley, her eyes still boring into Sirius. 'You are still at school and adults responsible for you should not forget it!'
'He's not your son,' said Sirius quietly.
'It was my father's,' said Sirius, throwing the ring into the sack. 'Kreacher wasn't quite as devoted to him as to my mother, but I still caught him snogging a pair of my father's old trousers last week.'
'A weapons going to be a lot bigger than the Stone, though!' said Ron.