Elusion

Chapter 12

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Harry opened his eyes and looked around to realize that he was in a different room. He felt the familiar sensation of restraints around his wrists and ankles and cursed internally. This was getting tiring. Why couldn't Voldemort just kill him? Harry buried his face in the pillow and began thinking of a way to get out of this situation. Voldemort's voice brought him out of his musings,

"Harry, how are you feeling?"

Harry made no move to acknowledge Voldemort. He hated the man. Voldemort spoke again,

"I can force you to turn, Harry."

Harry kept his face buried in the pillow and spoke,

"But you can't make me talk."

Harry felt Voldemort sit down beside him on the bed. He had to think of something. He had to get out of these restraints. Finally, he spoke,

"I'll talk if you remove these restraints."

Harry felt Voldemort's fingers card through his hair. The man would never agree but it had been worth a shot. Suddenly Harry felt the restraints uncoil from his wrists and ankles. He pulled his face out of the pillow and sat up straight. He met Voldemort's gaze and spoke,

"Why didn't you torture me for attempting to escape?"

Voldemort chuckled darkly and spoke,

"Did you really think of that as an escape attempt? You did not even manage to leave the confines of this manor."

Harry looked down at his lap. Voldemort was provoking him. He was trying to get under his skin but Harry would not let that happen. Harry smiled and spoke,

"That was just a warm up. If you believe that I'm going to just sit here then you're mistaken."

Voldemort gripped Harry's chin tightly and spoke,

"Run then, Harry. Run as far as you can. Run for as long as you can. But I shall find you, because you are a fire and I am the rain."

Harry grinned,

"Were you always this poetic?"

Voldemort tightened his grip on Harry's chin. He admired Harry's courage and adored his defiance,

"You are free to go, Harry."

Harry's smirk faltered and shock replaced it. Voldemort smirked victoriously. Harry finally spoke through numb lips,

"Don't play with me."

Voldemort released Harry's chin and spoke gently,

"I am not playing with you. You may leave now. But there is one condition."

Harry burst out in a fit of laughter,

"I knew it. Well tell me. What's the condition?"

Voldemort wore a truly evil smirk on his face,

"Tell me, where will you go? You cannot go to Hogwarts because you have expelled. You cannot go back to your relatives because they are dead. You do not wish to be anywhere near the order because that night, when you were attacked by my death eaters, you would have run to them instead of running off to the Leaky Cauldron for refuge. I am certain that you shall not be returning to Grimmauld Place because the order is still employing it as their headquarters. You have nowhere to go, Harry."

Harry sat up straighter,

"It shouldn't matter to you. I can go anywhere I want."

Voldemort tsked,

"That is the condition for your freedom, Harry. Name one place where you can take refuge and I shall let you go."

Harry tried to think of a place, any place but none came to mind. When Harry didn't reply for a long time, then Voldemort finally spoke,

"Harry, I stand corrected. There is no place that shall welcome you. There is no one that shall offer you haven."

Harry looked up at Voldemort and met his gaze,

"Think whatever you want. It's not that anyone will not welcome me. I haven't run out of friends. I haven't run out of people that care about me. I just don't want to see them hurt."

Voldemort looked curiously at Harry,

"You do not wish to see them hurt? Why did you suddenly feel the need to distance yourself from your friends?"

Harry shook his head,

"That is none of your concern."

Voldemort chortled darkly,

"I shall unravel all your secrets, Harry."

Harry snickered,

"You can try."

Harry felt pleased to see that Voldemort's irritation had grown. He felt the uncomfortable urge to cough and tried to restrain himself. Not in front of Voldemort. He would not cough in front of Voldemort. But he couldn't restrain it. It grew unbearable and Harry coughed. He immediately covered his face with his hand.

Voldemort noticed the way Harry coughed and spoke,

"It seems that Narcissa's potions have not improved your health."

Harry coughed again and couldn't reply. Pain, unbidden and excruciating rose in his chest and he gripped the bed covers tightly. Willing himself to act normal in front of Voldemort. Why couldn't the man just leave already? Why couldn't he just leave him alone? Harry covered his mouth with his hand again as he coughed.

Voldemort had seen the pain reflected on Harry's face. He had seen the way Harry had gripped the bed covers. Something was awfully wrong and Harry was doing his best to conceal it. He reached out and rested his hand on Harry's cheek. He realized that Harry was burning up.

Harry felt Voldemort's hand on his cheek and instantly pulled back.

Voldemort finally spoke,

"Harry, you are running a fever."

Harry rested his head against the headboard and lied,

"No, it's because I just woke up."

Voldemort took Harry's hand and felt it,

"Then why are your hands so cold?"

Harry wrenched away his hand and spoke,

"Mind your own business, please."

Voldemort looked up at Harry's face and realized that Harry's cheeks were flush. He was certain that Harry was definitely running a fever. He rose to his feet and spoke,

"Since you have failed to fulfil my condition, I shall not be letting you go. Besides, you are not in a condition to even leave this bed."

Harry looked up at Voldemort and spoke through gritted teeth,

"There is nothing wrong with me."

Voldemort turned his back to Harry and spoke,

"You cannot lie to me."

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