Elusion

Chapter 36

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Dumbledore waved his wand and Harry found himself back in the armchair. His wrists and ankles chained to the arms and legs of the chair. Dumbledore stood in front of him and began to speak,

"What do you know about training a horse, Harry?"

The question caught Harry completely off guard. Horses…. Dumbledore wanted to talk about horses. Maybe the old man really was going senile. But Harry was willing to indulge him if it delayed the pain,

"Nothing, Professor."

Dumbledore smiled but it didn't reach his cold blue eyes that were twinkling with malicious intent,

"You see, Harry. I tried to be an unconventional trainer. Do you know what the difference is between an unconventional trainer and a traditional trainer?"

Harry had an inkling to where this conversation was heading. He was the horse or at least that's what Dumbledore thought,

"I didn't know you rode horses, Professor."

Dumbledore moved his hand through his long white beard and leaned back against his desk,

"Unconventional trainers take the approach of love and kindness. They let the horse run free in a pen. When he stops they signal the horse and if he stands they will pet him like his mother did, with soft body contact. When he wants to run away they let him run it out. When he tires of that he'll come back for more petting. The process repeats, the horse learns to trust them and then they begin to work together in a positive relationship. A traditional trainer however does the exact opposite. He employs whips, fear, beatings that often end in sending the horse for slaughter when it is too traumatized to be of use."

Harry tried not to afraid. The dark analogy was too true. Harry had no doubt that Dumbledore would soon be turning into a traditional trainer. But he wasn't a horse. He was an actual human being and he wasn't going to allow himself to be trained like an animal no matter what means Dumbledore used.

Dumbledore's bony hand gripped his chin and forced him to meet his gaze,

"As you may have guessed, Harry. I am about to take the traditional approach with you."

Dumbledore's gaze went over the shattered glass vials on the floor and he tsked,

"You were such a good boy once, so obedient and so willing to follow me to the ends of the earth…..but now…your current attitude saddens me deeply, Harry. I never wished to instigate pain upon you but you have made it a necessity. I am hopeful that the pain shall remind you of who you once were and compel you to be that person again."

Harry gritted his teeth. So, Dumbledore wanted him to be his lap dog again. That was never going to happen. He might as well clear Dumbledore's concepts now,

"You're going to be extremely disappointed. I am never going to be that person again."

Dumbledore pulled his finger away from his chin and spoke,

"Well then, it shall be the slaughter house for you in the end."

Harry laughed bitterly. He wasn't afraid to die. He didn't care if he was going to die a bit sooner than later.

"How about you slaughter me now?"

Dumbledore had pulled out his wand,

"Oh Harry, trust me, I will. But before that you must make penance for tarnishing my reputation and destroying my greatest assets."

Harry remembered what he had said about Dumbledore at the ministry. At least now everyone knew the truth but Harry doubted that anyone believed him. Dumbledore was an angel as far as the order was concerned.

Dumbledore traced his wand over Harry's bloody knuckle and straightened his hand out to expose his fingers. Harry attempted to ball it into a fist again but some unknown force kept his hand outstretched. He knew what Dumbledore was going to do. He knew what was coming and his muscles tensed as much as they could.

The knowing didn't soften the blow though. Dumbledore flicked his wand and Harry felt the bone of his index finger split into an untold number of fragments as his mind became inoperable. Harry bit down on his tongue to stop himself from making a sound. The pain took him, not far away, but deep inside himself to some primitive place that knew how to cope with the kind of pain that precedes death. His vision was blotched with violent colours that moved and merged without pattern or design. The wall of pain still crippled his vision but Dumbledore swam back into view. His face was just as you'd imagine it to be. He looked as if he were taking a leisurely stroll through the park or enjoying his favorite candy. Then he smiled in a small way and flicked his wand again shattering his middle finger. Harry let out a strangled scream and felt blood well into his throat from the tongue he had just bitten through in a vain attempt to keep quiet.

Harry lost count of his screams, he lost count of his fingers. He could feel his cheek getting wet with tears and he hated himself. What was he crying for? He had known this would happen when he had smashed those memories. Voldemort's face swam to the forefront of his mind and he smiled despite the agony he was in. He had told himself over and over again that he didn't care about him, that he felt nothing for him, that there was no connection between them and here he was now. Getting tortured for the man and still believing that it was worth it. It is worth it. Dumbledore would have tortured him anyway. At least this way he knew that his suffering was for something.

Dumbledore's voice cracked through the hazy state of mind he was in,

"My boy, it shall give me extreme pleasure in wiping that smile off your face."

Harry drew in a shaky breath and managed to rasp out,

"Do your worst."

Before he knew it, his mind screamed out as the pain drove through his body. Every thought that he just had became confused as the burning pain licked up his spine like scorching fire. Searing fiery bursts of pain pulsated through every nerve in his body, intensifying with each dragging second, jarring and brutal. The pain amplified, his muscles quivered, his consciousness ebbed. Black mists swirled at the edges of his mind drawing him into sweet oblivion.

But Dumbledore dragged him away from sweet oblivion back into the world of pain. He felt Dumbledore grab his hair and yank his head back so that he was staring up into Dumbledore's twinkling blue eyes,

"Will you obey me, Harry? I can end your suffering, you need only pledge your loyalty to me."

Harry coughed and spat out blood at Dumbledore's face. At least now he could cough out blood without worrying about Dumbledore finding out his secret. Dumbledore vanished the blood from his face with a smile and the pain began anew along with his screams.

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