When Harry continued to look puzzled, Sirius said, 'Like a weapon. Something he didn't have last time.'
'No one's denying what he's done!' said Mrs Weasley, her voice rising, her fists trembling on the arms of her chair. 'But he's still - '
Ron, Hermione, Fred and Georges heads swivelled from Sirius to Mrs Weasley as though they were following a tennis rally. Ginny was kneeling amid a pile of abandoned Butterbeer corks, watching the conversation with her mouth slightly open. Lupin's eyes were fixed on Sirius.
'We've managed to convince a couple of people, though,' said Mr Weasley. Tonks here, for one - she's too young to have been in the Order of the Phoenix last time, and having Aurors on our side is a huge advantage - Kingsley Shacklebolt's been a real asset, too; he's in charge of the hunt for Sirius, so he's been feeding the Ministry information that Sirius is in Tibet.'
Harry didn't know whether to laugh or not. The elf straightened up, eyeing them all malevolently, and apparently convinced that they could not hear him as he continued to mutter.
'But they're legally adults now,' said Mr Weasley, in the same tired voice.
'Or rather, you messed it up for him,' said Lupin, with a satisfied smile.
'Yeah, you're right!' said Fred, as the front door opened; Mundungus heaved his cauldrons through it and disappeared from view. 'Blimey, Mum won't like that . . .'
Mr Weasley did not speak at once. He took off his glasses and cleaned them slowly on his robes, not looking at his wife. Only when he had replaced them carefully on his nose did he reply.
Sirius started to rise from his chair.
'You see the problem,' said Lupin. 'While the Ministry insists there is nothing to fear from Voldemort it's hard to convince people he's back, especially as they really don't want to believe it in the first place. What's more, the Ministry's leaning heavily on the Daily Prophet not to report any of what they're calling Dumbledore's rumour-mongering, so most of the wizarding community are completely unaware anything's happened, and that makes them easy targets for the Death Eaters if they're using the Imperius Curse.'
Harry didn't need to ask what Ron meant.
'Mundungus is talking to Sirius and Kingsley,' Fred muttered, frowning with concentration. 'Can't hear properly . . . d'you reckon we can risk the Extendable Ears?'
'It doesn't matter,' Hermione whispered, 'he's not in his tight mind, he doesn't know what he's - '
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.
'Close the door, please, Harry,' said Mrs Weasley.
'I love hearing Mum shouting at someone else,' said Fred, with a satisfied smile on his face as he opened the door an inch or so to allow Mrs Weasley's voice to permeate the room better, 'it makes such a nice change.'
There was a sharp intake of breath from Ron. -demon,' said Harry firmly. 'When are you going to start using his name? Sirius and Lupin do.'