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        “I can’t. It’s got to be me, Dumbledore explained it all —”

        “Oh, did he now? And did he tell you everything, was he honest with you?”

        Harry wanted with all his heart to say “Yes,” but somehow the simple word would not rise to his lips. Aberforth seemed to know what he was thinking.

        “I knew my brother, Potter. He learned secrecy at our mother’s knee. Secrets and lies, that’s how we grew up, and Albus . . . he was a natural.”

        The old man’s eyes traveled to the painting of the girl over the mantelpiece. It was, now Harry looked around properly, the only picture in the room. There was no photograph of Albus Dumbledore, nor of anyone else.

        “Mr. Dumbledore?” said Hermione rather timidly. “Is that your sister? Ariana?”

        “Yes,” said Aberforth tersely. “Been reading Rita Skeeter, have you, missy?”

        Even by the rosy light of the fire it was clear that Hermione had turned red.

        “Elphias Doge mentioned her to us,” said Harry, trying to spare Hermione.

        “That old berk,” muttered Aberforth, taking another swig of mead. “Thought the sun shone out of my brother’s every orifice, he did. Well, so did plenty of people, you three included, by the looks of it.”

        “不能,必須是我,鄧布利多解釋得很清楚——”

        “哦,是嗎?那么,他把一切都告訴你了嗎,他對你誠實嗎?”

        哈利多么想說“是的”,然而不知怎么,這個簡單的詞就是不肯來到他的嘴邊。阿不福思似乎知道他在想什么。

        “我了解我的哥哥,波特。他在我母親的膝頭就學會了保密。秘密和謊言,我們就是這樣成長起來的,而阿不思……他天生如此。”

        老人的目光轉向了壁爐臺上的那幅少女畫像。此刻哈利已經把周圍打量清楚了,知道這是房間里惟一的一幅畫。這里沒有阿不思·鄧布利多和別人的照片。

        “鄧布利多先生,”赫敏有點膽怯地說,“這是你的妹妹?阿利安娜?”

        “對,”阿不福思生硬地說,“讀了麗塔·斯基特,是嗎,小姑娘?”

        即使在紅紅的火光映照下,也能看出赫敏的臉紅了。

        “埃菲亞斯·多吉向我們提到過她。”哈利說,想替赫敏解圍。

        “那個老傻瓜,”阿不福思低聲說,喝了一大口蜂蜜酒,“他認為我哥哥每一個毛孔都放射出陽光,哼,許多人都那么想,看樣子,你們三個也不例外。”

        Harry kept quiet. He did not want to express the doubts and uncertainties about Dumbledore that had riddled him for months now. He had made his choice while he dug Dobby’s grave, he had decided to continue along the winding, dangerous path indicated for him by Albus Dumbledore, to accept that he had not been told everything that he wanted to know, but simply to trust. He had no desire to doubt again; he did not want to hear anything that would deflect him from his purpose.

        He met Aberforth’s gaze, which was so strikingly like his brother’s: The bright blue eyes gave the same impression that they were X-raying the object of their scrutiny, and Harry thought that Aberforth knew what he was thinking and despised him for it.

        “Professor Dumbledore cared about Harry, very much,” said Hermione in a low voice.

        “Did he now?” said Aberforth. “Funny thing, how many of the people my brother cared about very much ended up in a worse state than if he’d left ’em well alone.”

        “What do you mean?” asked Hermione breathlessly.

        “Never you mind,” said Aberforth.

        “But that’s a really serious thing to say!” said Hermione. “Are you — are you talking about your sister?”

        哈利沒有說話。他不想說出幾個月來困擾心頭的對鄧布利多的懷疑和猶豫。他為多比掘墓時就做出了選擇,他已經決定沿著阿不思·鄧布利多指點的危險,曲折的道路繼續前行,雖然鄧布利多沒有把他需要知道的事情都告訴他,但他只有深信不疑。

        他不愿意再去懷疑,他不想聽到任何會使他偏離目標的東西。哈利碰到了阿不福思的目光,跟他哥哥的目光驚人地相似:都是明亮的藍眼睛,都像在透視被審視的對象。哈利覺得阿不福思知道他在想什么,并因此而看不起他。

        “鄧布利多教授關心哈利,非常關心。”赫敏低聲說。

        “哦,是嗎?”阿不福思說,“真是可笑,有多少我哥哥非常關心的人最后下場可悲,還不如他當初不管他們呢。”

        “什么意思?”赫敏屏住呼吸問。

        “不關你的事。”阿不福思說。

        “但是這句話真的說得很重!”赫敏說,“你——你說的是你妹妹嗎?”

        Aberforth glared at her: His lips moved as if he were chewing the words he was holding back. Then he burst into speech.

        “When my sister was six years old, she was attacked, set upon, by three Muggle boys. They’d seen her doing magic, spying through the back garden hedge: She was a kid, she couldn’t control it, no witch or wizard can at that age. What they saw scared them, I expect. They forced their way through the hedge, and when she couldn’t show them the trick, they got a bit carried away trying to stop the little freak doing it.”

        Hermione’s eyes were huge in the firelight; Ron looked slightly sick. Aberforth stood up, tall as Albus, and suddenly terrible in his anger and the intensity of his pain.

        “It destroyed her, what they did: She was never right again. She wouldn’t use magic, but she couldn’t get rid of it; it turned inward and drove her mad, it exploded out of her when she couldn’t control it, and at times she was strange and dangerous. But mostly she was sweet and scared and harmless.

        “And my father went after the bastards that did it,” said Aberforth, “and attacked them. And they locked him up in Azkaban for it. He never said why he’d done it, because if the Ministry had known what Ariana had become, she’d have been locked up in St. Mungo’s for good. They’d have seen her as a serious threat to the International Statute of Secrecy, unbalanced like she was, with magic exploding out of her at moments when she couldn’t keep it in any longer.

        阿不福思狠狠地瞪著她,嘴唇蠕動著,像是在咀嚼他忍住不說的話。然后,他突然打開了話匣子。

        “我妹妹六歲時,遭到三個麻瓜男孩的襲擊。他們透過后花園的樹籬看見她在變魔法。她還是個孩子,還不能收放自如,那個年紀的巫師都不能。我猜,那些男孩是被眼前的情景嚇著了。他們從樹籬中擠了進來,我妹妹沒法告訴他們魔法是怎么變的,他們就失去控制,想阻止小怪物再變魔法。”

        火光里,赫敏的眼睛睜得大大的,羅恩看上去有點不舒服。阿不福思站了起來,和阿不思一樣高大,因為憤怒,因為劇烈的痛苦,他突然顯得很可怕。

        “他們做的事情把她毀了,她再也沒有恢復正常。她不愿意使用魔法,但又沒法擺脫。魔法轉入了她的內心,把她逼瘋了,在她不能控制的時候,魔法就會在她身上發作。她有時候又古怪又危險,但大多數時候很可愛,怯生生的,對人沒有傷害。”

        “我父親去找那幾個混蛋算賬,”阿不福思說道,“把他們教訓了一頓,結果被關進了阿茲卡班。他從來沒說他為什么那么做,如果魔法部知道了阿利安娜的狀況,她將被終生囚禁在圣芒戈醫院里。他們會把她看作是對《國際保密法》的一個嚴重威脅,因為她精神錯亂,在無法控制的時候她內在的魔法就會爆發出來。”

        “We had to keep her safe and quiet. We moved house, put it about she was ill, and my mother looked after her, and tried to keep her calm and happy.

        “I was her favorite,” he said, and as he said it, a grubby schoolboy seemed to look out through Aberforth’s wrinkles and tangled beard. “Not Albus, he was always up in his bedroom when he was home, reading his books and counting his prizes, keeping up with his correspondence with ‘the most notable magical names of the day,’ ” Aberforth sneered. “He didn’t want to be bothered with her. She liked me best. I could get her to eat when she wouldn’t do it for my mother, I could get her to calm down when she was in one of her rages, and when she was quiet, she used to help me feed the goats.

        “Then, when she was fourteen . . . See, I wasn’t there,” said Aberforth. “If I’d been there, I could have calmed her down. She had one of her rages, and my mother wasn’t as young as she was, and . . . it was an accident. Ariana couldn’t control it. But my mother was killed.”

        Harry felt a horrible mixture of pity and repulsion; he did not want to hear any more, but Aberforth kept talking, and Harry wondered how long it had been since he had spoken about this; whether, in fact, he had ever spoken about it.

        “So that put paid to Albus’s trip round the world with little Doge. The pair of ’em came home for my mother’s funeral and then Doge went off on his own, and Albus settled down as head of the family. Ha!”

        Aberforth spat into the fire.

        “我們必須保證她的安全,并把她隱藏起來。我們搬了家,謊稱她病了,我母親負責照料她,盡量使她平靜、快樂。”

        “她最喜歡我,”阿不福思說,他說這話的時候,似乎一個邋遢的男生正在透過阿不福思滿臉的皺紋和糾結的胡子朝外窺視,“而不是阿不思。阿不思在家時總待在樓上自己的臥室里,讀他的書,數他的獎狀,跟‘當時最有名的魔法大師’通信,”阿不福思饑笑地說,“阿不思根本不愿意為她操心。她最喜歡我。我母親沒法讓她吃飯時,我能哄她吃下去;她脾氣發作時,我能讓她平靜下來;她安靜時,經常幫我一起喂羊。”

        “后來,她十四歲了……唉,當時我不在,”阿不福思說,“如果我在,就會讓她平靜下來。她脾氣又發作了,我母親已不像以前那么年輕,結果……那是個意外,阿利安娜沒法控制自己,我母親被殺死了。”

        哈利感到一種強烈的同情和抵觸情緒,他不想再聽了。可是阿不福思還在繼續往下說,哈利心想老人不知多長時間沒有說過這件事了,也許他從來就沒對人說起過。

        “這樣,阿不思和小多吉一起周游世界的計劃就破滅了。他們倆回來參加了我母親的葬禮,然后多吉獨自出發了,阿不思作為一家之長留了下來。呸!”

        阿不福思朝火里啐了一口。

        “I’d have looked after her, I told him so, I didn’t care about school, I’d have stayed home and done it. He told me I had to finish my education and he’d take over from my mother. Bit of a comedown for Mr. Brilliant, there’s no prizes for looking after your half-mad sister, stopping her blowing up the house every other day. But he did all right for a few weeks . . . till he came.”

        And now a positively dangerous look crept over Aberforth’s face.

        “Grindelwald. And at last, my brother had an equal to talk to, someone just as bright and talented as he was. And looking after Ariana took a backseat then, while they were hatching all their plans for a new Wizarding order, and looking for Hallows, and whatever else it was they were so interested in. Grand plans for the benefit of all Wizardkind, and if one young girl got neglected, what did that matter, when Albus was working for the greater good?

        “But after a few weeks of it, I’d had enough, I had. It was nearly time for me to go back to Hogwarts, so I told ’em, both of ’em, face-to-face, like I am to you, now,” and Aberforth looked down at Harry, and it took little imagination to see him as a teenager, wiry and angry, confronting his elder brother. “I told him, you’d better give it up now. You can’t move her, she’s in no fit state, you can’t take her with you, wherever it is you’re planning to go, when you’re making your clever speeches, trying to whip yourselves up a following. He didn’t like that,” said Aberforth, and his eyes were briefly occluded by the firelight on the lenses of his glasses: They shone white and blind again. “Grindelwald didn’t like that at all.

        He got angry. He told me what a stupid little boy I was, trying to stand in the way of him and my brilliant brother. . . . Didn’t I understand, my poor sister wouldn’t have to be hidden once they’d changed the world, and led the wizards out of hiding, and taught the Muggles their place?

        “我對他說,我愿意照顧妹妹,我不在乎上學的事,我可以待在家里自學。他卻說我必須完成學業,他來接替我母親。這對于精英先生來說是有點失落的。照顧一個半瘋的妹妹,每隔一天就要阻止她把房子炸飛,這可沒人給他發獎。不過最初幾個星期他做得挺好……后來那個人來了。”

        這時,阿不福思臉上露出了一種十分危險的神情。

        “格林德沃。終于,我哥哥有了個談話的對手,有了個跟他一樣聰明、有才華的人。照顧阿利安娜就成了第二位的了,他們整天都在醞釀建立新巫師秩序的計劃,尋找圣器,做他們所有非常感興趣的事情。為了宏偉的計劃,為了整個巫師界的利益,一個小姑娘受到忽視又有什么關系?阿不思在為更偉大的利益工作呢!”

        “幾個星期后,我受夠了,真是受夠了。那時我快要回霍格沃茨了,于是我告訴他們,告訴他們兩個,面對面地,就像我現在對著你一樣,”阿不福思低頭看著哈利,不難想象他十幾歲時的模樣,精瘦結實,滿腔怒火,勇敢地面對自己的哥哥。“我告訴他,你最好趁早放棄。你不能轉移她,她的狀態不行,你不能帶她一起走,去你打算去的地方,發表你那些聰明的講話,給自己煽動起一批追隨者。他不愛聽。”阿不福思說,火光照在他的鏡片上,暫時遮住了他的眼睛,鏡片上又是白光一片,“

        格林德沃聽了很不高興,他生氣了,說我是個愚蠢的小男孩,想當他和我那出色的哥哥的絆腳石……還說難道我不明白?一旦他們改變了世界,讓巫師們不再躲躲藏藏,讓麻瓜們安分守己,我那可憐的妹妹就再也不用東藏西藏了。”

        “And there was an argument . . . and I pulled out my wand, and he pulled out his, and I had the Cruciatus Curse used on me by my brother’s best friend — and Albus was trying to stop him, and then all three of us were dueling, and the flashing lights and the bangs set her off, she couldn’t stand it —”

        The color was draining from Aberforth’s face as though he had suffered a mortal wound.

        “— and I think she wanted to help, but she didn’t really know what she was doing, and I don’t know which of us did it, it could have been any of us — and she was dead.”

        His voice broke on the last word and he dropped down into the nearest chair. Hermione’s face was wet with tears, and Ron was almost as pale as Aberforth. Harry felt nothing but revulsion: He wished he had not heard it, wished he could wash his mind clean of it.

        “I’m so . . . I’m so sorry,” Hermione whispered.

        “Gone,” croaked Aberforth. “Gone forever.”

        He wiped his nose on his cuff and cleared his throat.

        “ ’Course, Grindelwald scarpered. He had a bit of a track record already, back in his own country, and he didn’t want Ariana set to his account too. And Albus was free, wasn’t he? Free of the burden of his sister, free to become the greatest wizard of the —”

        “我們爭論起來……我抽出我的魔杖,他也抽出了他的,我中了鉆心咒,是我哥哥最好的朋友下的手——阿不思試圖阻止他。于是我們三人展開了決斗,一道道閃光和一聲聲巨響刺激了我妹妹,她無法承受——”

        阿不福思的臉上突然沒了血色,仿佛受了致命的創傷。

        “——我猜她是想來幫忙,但她不清楚自己在做什么,我不知道究竟是我們中間誰干的,誰都有可能——她死了。”

        說到最后一句,他聲音哽咽了,撲通跌坐在最近的那張椅子上。赫敏滿臉淚水,羅恩的臉色幾乎和阿不福思的一樣蒼白。哈利只感到一陣難受:他希望沒有聽見,希望能把這件事從腦子里洗掉。

        “我……我很抱歉。”赫敏小聲說。

        “沒了,”阿不福思啞著嗓子說,“永遠沒了。”

        他用袖口擦擦鼻子,清了清嗓子。

        “當然啦,格林德沃逃跑了。他在自己國內已經有了點前科,可不希望把阿利安娜的賬也算在他頭上。阿不思解脫了,不是嗎?擺脫了妹妹這個負擔,可以無牽無掛地去做最偉大的巫師——”

        “He was never free,” said Harry.

        “I beg your pardon?” said Aberforth.

        “Never,” said Harry. “The night that your brother died, he drank a potion that drove him out of his mind. He started screaming, pleading with someone who wasn’t there. ‘Don’t hurt them, please . . . hurt me instead.’ ”

        Ron and Hermione were staring at Harry. He had never gone into details about what had happened on the island on the lake: The events that had taken place after he and Dumbledore had returned to Hogwarts had eclipsed it so thoroughly.

        “He thought he was back there with you and Grindelwald, I know he did,” said Harry, remembering Dumbledore whimpering, pleading. “He thought he was watching Grindelwald hurting you and Ariana. . . . It was torture to him, if you’d seen him then, you wouldn’t say he was free.”

        Aberforth seemed lost in contemplation of his own knotted and veined hands. After a long pause he said, “How can you be sure, Potter, that my brother wasn’t more interested in the greater good than in you? How can you be sure you aren’t dispensable, just like my little sister?”

        A shard of ice seemed to pierce Harry’s heart.

        “他從來沒有解脫。”哈利說。

        “你說什么?”阿不福思說。

        “從來沒有,”哈利說,“你哥哥死去的那天夜里喝了一種毒藥,變得精神錯亂。他開始喊叫,向一個不在場的人發出懇求:‘別傷害他們,求求你……沖我來吧。’”

        羅恩和赫敏都吃驚地看著哈利。他從來沒有跟他們講過在湖心小島的具體細節。他和鄧布利多回到霍格沃茨后發生的事情,使那一幕顯得毫不重要了。

        “他以為自己回到了從前,跟你和格林德沃在一起,我知道是這樣。”哈利說道,想起了鄧布利多帶著嗚咽的懇求,“他以為自己正眼看著格林德沃傷害你和阿利安娜……這對他來說太痛苦了,如果當時你看見他,就不會說他已經解脫了。”

        阿不福思出神地盯著自己骨節突出、布滿青筋的手。過了良久,他說:“波特,你怎么能夠確定,我哥哥更感興趣的不是更偉大的利益而是你呢?你怎么能夠確定你不像我的小妹妹一樣是可有可無的呢?”

        似乎有鋒利的冰碴刺中了哈利的心。

        “I don’t believe it. Dumbledore loved Harry,” said Hermione.

        “Why didn’t he tell him to hide, then?” shot back Aberforth. “Why didn’t he say to him, ‘Take care of yourself, here’s how to survive’?”

        “Because,” said Harry before Hermione could answer, “sometimes you’ve got to think about more than your own safety! Sometimes you’ve got to think about the greater good! This is war!”

        “You’re seventeen, boy!”

        “I’m of age, and I’m going to keep fighting even if you’ve given up!”

        “Who says I’ve given up?”

        “ ‘The Order of the Phoenix is finished,’ ” Harry repeated. “ ‘You-Know-Who’s won, it’s over, and anyone who’s pretending different’s kidding themselves.’ ”

        “I don’t say I like it, but it’s the truth!”

        “我不相信。鄧布利多是愛哈利的。”赫敏說。

        “那他為什么不叫哈利躲藏起來?”阿不福思反駁道,“為什么不叫哈利好好地照顧自己,保全性命?”

        “因為,”哈利搶在赫敏前面回答,“有時候你必須考慮比自身安全更多的東西!有時候你必須考慮更偉大的利益!這是戰爭!”

        “你才十七歲,孩子!”

        “我成人了,我要繼續戰斗,即使你已經放棄!”

        “誰說我放棄了?”

        “‘鳳凰社完了,’”哈利重復著他的話,“‘神秘人贏了,大勢已去,那些假裝不承認這些的人是在欺騙自己。’”

        “我沒有說我愿意這樣,但這是事實!”

        “No, it isn’t,” said Harry. “Your brother knew how to finish You-Know-Who and he passed the knowledge on to me. I’m going to keep going until I succeed — or I die. Don’t think I don’t know how this might end. I’ve known it for years.”

        He waited for Aberforth to jeer or to argue, but he did not. He merely scowled.

        “We need to get into Hogwarts,” said Harry again. “If you can’t help us, we’ll wait till daybreak, leave you in peace, and try to find a way in ourselves. If you can help us — well, now would be a great time to mention it.”

        Aberforth remained fixed in his chair, gazing at Harry with the eyes that were so extraordinarily like his brother’s. At last he cleared his throat, got to his feet, walked around the little table, and approached the portrait of Ariana.

        “You know what to do,” he said.

        She smiled, turned, and walked away, not as people in portraits usually did, out of the sides of their frames, but along what seemed to be a long tunnel painted behind her. They watched her slight figure retreating until finally she was swallowed by the darkness.

        “不,不是,”哈利說道,“你哥哥知道怎么干掉神秘人,他把情況告訴了我。我要繼續下去,直到成功——或者死去。別以為我不知道最后可能會是什么結局。早在幾年前我就知道了。”

        哈利等待著阿不福思的饑笑或者反駁,但他沒有,他只是陰沉著臉。

        “我們需要進入霍格沃茨,”哈利又說道,“如果你不能幫忙,我們就等到天亮,自己想辦法,不再麻煩你。如果你能幫忙——那現在正好可以說出來。”

        阿不福思仍然一動不動地坐在椅子上,怔怔地盯著哈利,那雙眼睛像極了他哥哥的。最后,他清清嗓子,站了起來,繞過小桌子,走向阿利安娜的肖像。

        “你知道該怎么做。”他說。

        那少女微微一笑,轉身走了,她不像平常肖像里的人那樣消失在畫框旁邊,而似乎是順著畫在她身后的一條長長的隧道走去。他們注視著她纖弱的身影越走越遠,最后被黑暗吞沒了。

        “Er — what — ?” began Ron.

        “There’s only one way in now,” said Aberforth. “You must know they’ve got all the old secret passageways covered at both ends, dementors all around the boundary walls, regular patrols inside the school from what my sources tell me. The place has never been so heavily guarded. How you expect to do anything once you get inside it, with Snape in charge and the Carrows as his deputies . . . well, that’s your lookout, isn’t it? You say you’re prepared to die.”

        “But what . . . ?” said Hermione, frowning at Ariana’s picture.

        A tiny white dot had reappeared at the end of the painted tunnel, and now Ariana was walking back toward them, growing bigger and bigger as she came. But there was somebody else with her now, someone taller than she was, who was limping along, looking excited. His hair was longer than Harry had ever seen it: He appeared to have suffered several gashes to his face and his clothes were ripped and torn. Larger and larger the two figures grew, until only their heads and shoulders filled the portrait. Then the whole thing swung forward on the wall like a little door, and the entrance to a real tunnel was revealed. And out of it, his hair overgrown, his face cut, his robes ripped, clambered the real Neville Longbottom, who gave a roar of delight, leapt down from the mantelpiece, and yelled, “I knew you’d come! I knew it, Harry!”

        “呃——這是怎么——?”羅恩想問個究竟。

        “現在只有一條路能進去,”阿不福思說,“你必須知道,整個學校從來沒有這樣嚴防死守過。據我得到的消息,他們已經把所有古老的秘密通道的兩頭都堵死了,圍墻邊都是食死徒,校內固定有人巡邏。斯內普獨掌大權,卡羅兄妹當他的左膀右臂,你就是進到了學校,又能有什么作為呢……唉,那是你自己的事了,對嗎?你說你已經做好赴死的準備。”

        “可是……”赫敏皺眉望著阿利安娜的畫像,說道。

        一個小白點在畫中的隧道盡頭出現了,阿利安娜朝著他們走了回來,越來越近,越來越大。但她身邊還有一個人,個子比她高,走路一瘸一拐的,滿臉的興奮。他的頭發比哈利以前見過的任何時候都長,臉上似乎劃了幾道口子,衣服被撕扯得不像樣子。兩個人影越來越大,最后他們的腦袋和肩膀占滿了整個肖像。這時墻上的肖像如同一扇小門一樣打開了,露出一條真正的隧道的入口。真正的納威·隆巴頓從隧道里爬出來,頭發長得出奇,滿臉傷痕,長袍被扯爛了。他狂喜地大吼一聲,從壁爐臺上跳了下來,嚷道:“我知道你會來!我早就知道,哈利!”

        圖片來源:高品圖像

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