'Yeah, I did, but I didn't use - ' Harry began angrily, but - '
'What?' said Harry.
'Because I used the Patronus - '
'And what the ruddy hell are Dementors?'
'Professor Moody?' he said uncertainly.
With best wishes,
'Get me a glass of water, would you, Harry,' requested Moody.
'I'm a Metamorphmagus,' she said, looking back at her reflection and turning her head so that she could see her hair from all directions. 'It means I can change my appearance at will,' she added, spotting Harry's puzzled expression in the mirror behind her. 'I was born one. I got top marks in Concealment and Disguise during Auror training without any study at all, it was great.'
'We ought to double back for a bit, just to make sure we're not being followed!' Moody shouted.
His room was certainly much messier than the rest of the house. Confined to it for four days in a very bad mood, Harry had not bothered tidying up after himself. Most of the books he owned were strewn over the floor where he'd tried to distract himself with each in turn and thrown it aside; Hedwig's cage needed cleaning out and was starting to smell; and his trunk lay open, revealing a jumbled mixture of Muggle clothes and wizards' robes that had spilled on to the floor around it.
'Oooh, he looks just like I thought he would,' said the witch who was holding her lit wand aloft. She looked the youngest there; she had a pale heart-shaped face, dark twinkling eyes, and short spiky hair that was a violent shade of violet. Wotcher, Harry!'
'Don't put your wand there, boy!' roared Moody. 'What if it ignited? Better wizards than you have lost buttocks, you know!'
Aunt Petunia looked as though she might faint. She sank into the chair beside Dudley, her face in her hands. The remains of the envelope smouldered into ash in the silence.
Then why - ?'
'What now?' said Harry impatiently.
'Why's he all right, then?' blustered Uncle Vernon. 'Why isn't e all empty, then?'
'How are you?' he asked, looking closely at Harry.
'You can open it if you like,' said Harry, 'but I'll hear what it says anyway. That's a Howler.'
'Mad-Eye, you do know that's disgusting, don't you?' said Tonks conversationally.