Chapter 33

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The Death Eaters filed out from the meeting room and Harry waited for them to clear out completely. Voldemort rose to his feet and Harry realized that he was going to vanish again when Harry lept forward and grabbed his arm. The next thing he knew everything went black, he was being pressed very hard from all directions; he couldn't breathe, there were iron bands tightening around his chest.

The sensation vanished as soon as it had appeared. He gulped great lungfuls of air and opened his streaming eyes. He felt as though he had just been forced through a very tight rubber tube. It was a few seconds before he realised that he was standing on the shore of a lake. The lake lay silver in the bright light of the evening sun, not a perfect ovoid like a looking glass of old, but irregular like an ink-splat on aging concrete. The rippled water ran right into the crevices, washing the soil from the rocks. Around the edges were pines, chaotic in their spacing but never more than a few feet without a tree. The only sound was the soft whispering of the trees.

Harry didn't release Voldemort's arm afraid that the man would vanish again. Voldemort however yanked his arm out of his grip and stepped away from him and towards the lake. Harry stared at his back and had just opened his mouth to speak when Voldemort spoke,

"Do not attempt to justify yourself."

Harry shut his mouth. Voldemort's tone was cold and devoid of any emotions. Harry tore his gaze away from Voldemort and stared at the lake instead. Before he knew it, the question slipped from his lips,

"Do you come here often?"

Voldemort remained silent and stared off in the distance so Harry sat down on a rock and watched the placid lake as well. There was definitely something calming about this place. There was no one else around and Harry was certain that Voldemort was the only person who ever came to this place.

After minutes of silence, Voldemort exhaled and turned around to face Harry. Harry rose to his feet and met Voldemort's smouldering crimson gaze,

"I cannot seem to understand you, Harry."

Harry laughed earnestly,

"I don't understand myself either."

Voldemort turned around and faced the lake again,

"I suggest that you figure yourself out. Come to me when you have truly decided upon what you want."

Harry pushed his hands into his pockets and looked down at the ground,

"So, you're telling me to leave?"

Voldemort nodded his imperceptibly. Harry closed his eyes,

"I didn't mean to say what I did."

Voldemort chuckled darkly,

"And yet you did."

Harry's shoulders slumped in resignation,

"I wasn't thinking straight."

Voldemort raised his gaze to the sky,

"I have a feeling that you never think straight. If you did then perhaps you would at least understand yourself."

Harry nodded his eyes. Voldemort was right. He was extremely right. But there was another reason he couldn't think straight. He wanted Voldemort. He desired him more than anything but it was impossible. He couldn't have this because he was going to die and he didn't want to leave Voldemort heartbroken. Every time he attempted to be close to Voldemort, that voice in his head began whispering ominous predictions about how painful his death would be and exactly how painful it would be for Voldemort. Maybe this was the perfect opportunity for him to step away from Voldemort and leave like he should have days ago,

"Can you drop me off at the Ministry? I have a resignation letter to write."

Voldemort turned around and looked at Harry. Harry opened his eyes and he saw the pain etched in every line of Voldemort's face and felt it radiate it from his very being. He drew forward and gripped Harry's arm and soon Harry was experiencing that same suffocating feeling again.

Harry landed in his seat and Voldemort vanished immediately. He buried his face in his hands and tried to breathe. This was hurting him more than he had thought. Damn it. He was hopelessly attached to Voldemort. Everything that Voldemort had ever said to him had been right. He needed to figure himself out because this…. this was getting out of hand. Harry coughed and covered his mouth with his hand.

He pulled out a roll of parchment and began writing his resignation letter. He would never come back here again. He was never going to see Voldemort again. This wasn't how he had wanted things to end but he would have to make do with this. He had to run from Voldemort now before he lost his will to run.

Harry finished the letter and rose to his feet. He went up to Voldemort's office and knocked. Voldemort didn't reply. Harry pushed open the door and stepped in. Voldemort was nowhere in sight which probably meant that he had returned to the lake or somewhere else. Either way Harry was extremely grateful. He placed the letter on the desk wordlessly and stepped out.

Harry didn't like the way things were ending but he had learnt that life wasn't fair, especially to him, and he never got what he wanted. He took the elevator and got off at the Atrium. He looked around but didn't find Rabastan. Maybe he ought to find a place of his own but for now Rabastan's would have to do. He was just walking to the fireplace when the Atrium went dark, frightening, absolute blackness.

Harry halted in his steps and attempted to look around but he couldn't see anything. Gasps and murmurs broke out. He was sorely missing his wand but he shouted out the order,

"Light your wands!"

Harry heard several muttered Lumos at once but that did nothing to penetrate the dark. He cursed. What was this all about? This wasn't Voldemort's doing. But the man was supposed to be here,

"Someone call Voldemort."

But the murmurs had died down and there was total silence. Harry felt as if he was all alone in the dark and he didn't like the sensation one bit. He turned to the fireplace again but as soon as he turned around and stepped forward he collided with someone.

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