'I shall see you in half an hour,' said Dumbledore quietly 'One . . . two . . . three
'More recently,' said Dumbledore, 'I became concerned that Voldemort might realise that this connection between you exists. Sure enough, there came a time when you entered so far into his mind and thoughts that he sensed your presence. I am speaking, of course, of the night when you witnessed the attack on Mr Weasley'
'If death is nothing, Dumbledore, kill the boy . . .'
'You do not seek to kill me, Dumbledore?' called Voldemort, his scarlet eyes narrowed over the top of the shield. 'Above such brutality, are you?'
'Yes, Phineas,' said Dumbledore.
He did not look at Harry at first, but walked over to the perch beside the door and withdrew, from an inside pocket of his robes, the tiny, ugly, featherless Fawkes, whom he placed gently on the tray of soft ashes beneath the golden post where the full-grown Fawkes usually stood.
Tall, thin and black-hooded, his terrible snakelike face white and gaunt, his scarlet, slit-pupilled eyes staring . . . Lord Voldemort had appeared in the middle of the hall, his wand pointing at Harry who stood frozen, quite unable to move.
'You sent that Howler. You told her to remember - it was your voice - '
'Yes,' said Harry, shaking so violently he could not hold his head up properly. 'Yeah, I'm - where's Voldemort, where - who are all these - what's - '
'But she took you,' Dumbledore cut across him. 'She may have taken you grudgingly, furiously, unwillingly, bitterly, yet still she took you, and in doing so, she sealed the charm I placed upon you. Your mother's sacrifice made the bond of blood the strongest shield I could give you.'
'Can't I, Potter?' said a high, cold voice.
Phineas Nigellus gave a long yawn, stretching his arms as he surveyed Harry out of shrewd, narrow eyes.
Thank you,' said Dumbledore softly.
'Harry, suffering like this proves you are still a man! This pain is part of being human - '
'Be quiet, Bella,' said Voldemort dangerously. 'I shall deal with you in a moment. Do you think I have entered the Ministry of Magic to hear your snivelling apologies?'
'If you proceed downstairs into the Department of Mysteries, Cornelius,' said Dumbledore - apparently satisfied that Harry was all right, and walking forwards so that the newcomers realised he was there for the first time (a few of them raised their wands; others simply looked amazed; the statues of the elf and goblin applauded and Fudge jumped so much that his slipper-clad feet left the floor) - 'you will find several escaped Death Eaters contained in the Death Chamber, bound by an Anti-Disapparation Jinx and awaiting your decision as to what to do with them.'
'Who heard it?' asked Harry, though he thought he knew the answer already.
'I thought,' said Dumbledore, inclining his head slightly, 'that she might need reminding of the pact she had sealed by taking you. I suspected the Dementor attack might have awoken her to the dangers of having you as a surrogate son.'
'I guessed, fifteen years ago,' said Dumbledore, 'when I saw the scar on your forehead, what it might mean. I guessed that it might be the sign of a connection forged between you and Voldemort.'