“He will only be gone from the school when none here are loyal to him,” said Harry, smiling in spite of himself.
“My dear boy ... even Dumbledore cannot return from the—”
“I am not saying he can. You wouldn't understand. But I've got nothing to tell you.”
Scrimgeour hesitated, then said, in what was evidently supposed to be a tone of delicacy, “The Ministry can offer you all sorts of protection, you know, Harry. I would
be delighted to place a couple of my Aurors at your service—”
“Voldemort wants to kill me himself and Aurors won't stop him. So thanks for the offer, but no thanks.”
“So,” said Scrimgeour, his voice cold now, “the request I made of you at Christmas—”
“What request? Oh yeah ... the one where I tell the world what a great job you're doing in exchange for —”
“—for raising everyone's morale!” snapped Scrimgeour.
Harry considered him for a moment.
“Released Stan Shunpike yet?”
Scrimgeour turned a nasty purple colour highly reminiscent of Uncle Vernon.
“I see you are—”
“Dumbledore's man through and through,” said Harry. “That's right.”
Scrimgeour glared at him for another moment, then turned and limped away without another word. Harry could see Percy and the rest of the Ministry delegation waiting for
him, casting nervous glances at the sobbing Hagrid and Grawp, who were still in their seats. Ron and Hermione were hurrying towards Harry, passing Scrimgeour going in
the opposite direction; Harry turned and walked slowly on, waiting for them to catch up, which they finally did in the shade of a beech tree under which they had sat in
“What did Scrimgeour want?” Hermione whispered.