'I - don't - well -' blustered Fudge, looking around as though hoping somebody was going to tell him what to do. When nobody did, he said, 'Very well - Dawlish! Williamson! Go down to the Department of Mysteries and see . . . Dumbledore, you - you will need to tell me exactly - the Fountain of Magical Brethren - what happened?' he added in a kind of whimper, staring around at the floor, where the remains of the statues of the witch, wizard and centaur now lay scattered.
Dumbledore lowered his hands and surveyed Harry through his half-moon glasses.
'Are you all right, Harry?'
'If death is nothing, Dumbledore, kill the boy . . .'
But words were no longer enough, smashing things was no more help; he wanted to run, he wanted to keep running and never look back, he wanted to be somewhere he could not see the clear blue eyes staring at him, that hatefully calm old face. He turned on his heel and ran to the door, seized the doorknob again and wrenched at it.
'Harry - Harry Potter?'
'What are you talking - ?'
But the door would not open.
It was his fault Sirius had died; it was all his fault. If he, Harry, had not been stupid enough to fall for Voldemort's trick, if he had not been so convinced that what he had seen in his dream was real, if he had only opened his mind to the possibility that Voldemort was, as Hermione had said, banking on Harry's love of playing the hero . . .
Harry turned back to Dumbledore.
'I am aware of it,' said Dumbledore heavily. 'I have already said that it was a mistake for me not to teach you myself, though I was sure, at the time, that nothing could have been more dangerous than to open your mind even further to Voldemort while in my presence - '
Blinded and dying, every part of him screaming for release, Harry felt the creature use him again . . .
Harry stared into the blue eyes and said nothing, but his heart was racing again.
'Madam Pomfrey is patching everybody up,' said Dumbledore 'Nymphadora Tonks may need to spend a little time in St Mungos, but it seems she will make a full recovery.'
Harry waited, but Dumbledore did not speak.
'Well, Harry,' said Dumbledore, finally turning away from the baby bird, 'you will be pleased to hear that none of your fellow students are going to suffer lasting damage from the night's events.'
Harry contented himself with nodding at the carpet, which was growing lighter as the sky outside grew paler. He was sure all the: portraits around the room were listening closely to every wore! Dumbledore spoke, wondering where Dumbledore and Harry had been, and why there had been injuries.
'And so we entered your second year at Hogwarts. And once again you met challenges even grown wizards have never faced; once again you acquitted yourself beyond my wildest dreams. You did not ask me again, however, why Voldemort had left that mark on you. We discussed your scar, oh yes . . . we came very, very close to the subject. Why did I not tell you everything;
Then Harry's scar burst open and he knew he was dead: it was pain beyond imagining, pain past endurance - '