Harry dropped his gaze to the chair in the centre of the room, the arms of which were covered in chains. He had seen those chains spring to life and bind whoever sat between them. His footsteps echoed loudly as he walked across the stone floor. When he sat gingerly on the edge of the chair the chains clinked threateningly, but did not bind him. Feeling rather sick, he looked up at the people seated at the bench above.
'Down here, down here,' panted Mr Weasley, taking two steps at a time. The lift doesn't even come down this far . . . why they're doing it down there I , . .'
- CHAPTER SEVEN -
A memo had just zoomed in through the open door and fluttered to rest on top of the hiccoughing toaster. Mr Weasley unfolded it and read it aloud.
Harry received a slight shock; blinking down at him from every direction was Sirius's face. Newspaper cuttings and old photographs - even the one of Sirius being best man at the Potters' wedding - 'papered the walls. The only Sirius-free space was a map of the world in which little red pins were glowing like jewels.
'Dementors?' said Madam Bones after a moment, her thick eyebrows rising until her monocle looked in danger of falling out. 'What do you mean, boy?'
'You received an official warning from the Ministry for using illegal magic three years ago, did you not?'
'Yes,' said Harry, 'but - '
'Not a very convincing witness,' said Fudge loftily.
He followed Mr Weasley upstairs and along the hall. He could hear Sirius's mother grunting in her sleep behind her curtains. Mr Weasley unbolted the door and they stepped out into the cold, grey dawn.
They're out of order,' said Harry, pointing at the sign.
'Level Three, Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes, including the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad, Obliviator Headquarters and Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee.'
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'You don't normally walk to work, do you?' Harry asked him, as they set off briskly around the square.
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Mr Weasley checked his watch and looked up at Harry. I think we'll go now,' he said. 'We're a bit early, but I think you 11 be better off at the Ministry than hanging around here.'
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Dumbledore cleared his throat. The Wizengamot fell silent again.
He had expected more muttering, but the silence that fell seemed to be somehow denser than before.
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'Yes,' said Mrs Figg. 'I felt them. Everything went cold, and this was a very warm summer's night, mark you. And I felt . . . as though all happiness had gone from the world . . . and I remembered . . . dreadful things . . .'
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'Where are we?' said Mr Weasley blankly, and for one heart-stopping moment Harry thought they had got off at the wrong station despite Mr Weasley's continual references to the map; but a second later he said, 'Ah yes . . . this way, Harry,' and led him down a side road.