Harry was asleep in his bed when Professor McGonagle gently shook his shoulder to awaken him.
"You have a visitor from London, Mr. Potter ... from Diagon Alley to be precise. He says he is coming in response to your summons, and asked me to be discrete in bringing you out to him. I am presuming that this has something to do with your Independent Study Group?" Harry nodded. "Well, be quick about it; you need your sleep," said McGonagle. "He is down at the front door."
Harry quietly pulled on his pants. Ron still appeared to be asleep. Then he retrieved a narrow cardboard box from his dresser and hopped out through the portrait hole. Ron, however, was still awake (though he'd been feigning sleep in order to listen to what McGonagle was saying to Harry). Harry proceeded down to the Hogwarts front entrance, thinking himself to be alone but actually being trailed all the way by a curious Ron, who hid in the shadows near the entrance, straining to hear what Harry and his midnight visitor were saying.
"Thanks for coming," said Harry.
"All part of our service," whispered a raspy and oddly familiar voice. "But I had to apparate into Hogsmead and walk the rest of the way here. All the spells around this place! Well, how may I assist you?" There was a momentary silence as Harry opened his box. "Oh my, Mr. Potter! You wish me to use this as ..."
"Yes," said Harry, sounding nervous that they might be overheard. "I know it can be done. I've read about it."
"You realize, of course," said the raspy voice, "that it will have to be much thicker than usual. And it will be costly... perhaps twice the normal price..."
"That's okay," said Harry. "I can afford it."
After more conversation revolving around price, a deal was struck, and the visitor left. As Harry turned to go back upstairs, Ron popped out from behind a curtain and scared Harry witless for a moment. "Sorry," said Ron. "But you know how incorrigibly curious I am. What's happening? Who was that-I couldn't see his face because his hood was up."
"It's just something kind of special that I'm working on. Couldn't trust an owl with it, even Hedwig. I should receive it back in a few days, and then I'll show you and Hermione."
"Come on, Harry, tell me now! What is it going to be?"
"I'll tell you in a few days," said Harry, with a tone of finality. "Let's get back to bed. I'm really tired."
Ron was not happy about being put off, and they didn't speak on their way back to the portrait hole. But the voice of the hooded figure had sounded very familiar; Ron mused to himself that it resembled a hoarse version of the voice of Mr. Olivander.