Chapter 45

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Voldemort regarded Harry for a moment. There was something underneath that cool, carefree veneer of his. There was always something and it astounded him how Harry always managed to find a way to keep it all hidden. This time…this time though he had the upper hand over Harry and he would know immediately if Harry attempted to lie to him. He turned his gaze to Rabastan and smirked,

"Rabastan, escort Harry to my office. I have some matters to tend to."

Confusion flashed across Harry's face for a moment but Harry was quick to hide it,

"No, I'm not going to your office."

Voldemort shook his head and drew closer to Harry. Harry instantly took a step back and squared his shoulders,

"And I'm not going to let you pass that act."

Voldemort's gaze flicked to Harry's gloved hand which had balled into fists. Harry's posture was tense and he had his mouth clenched shut. Harry's voice was weak but it could easily be attributed to the pain he had just put him through. But something about him wasn't adding up. There was more than just defiance there. Harry's body was screaming something at him but he was unable to understand the signs,

"Harry, I shall not pass the act."

Harry laughed sardonically,

"I don't trust you."

Voldemort turned away from him,

"Rabastan, I expect him in my office upon my return."

And with that he disappeared.

Harry stared in disbelief at the spot where Voldemort had vanished and drew in a deep breath. He felt Rabastan's presence close to him and knew he had appearances to keep,

"I can get myself there. Just stay away from me."

Among the catcalls and jeers from the death eaters, he began making his way to Voldemort's office. He stepped into the elevator and Rabastan hurried in before the golden grill closed. Harry was relieved to know that they were the only ones in the elevator. He allowed his composure to slip away and slumped back against the wall. Rabastan immediately reached for him but avoided touching him at the last minute,

"Are you alright?"

Harry had his eyes closed. The pain was unbearable and it was taking him all his willpower to keep himself on his feet and avoid screaming out in pain. He nodded for Rabastan,

"Harry, is your back hurting?"

Harry knew there was no point in lying but he couldn't tell Rabastan the complete truth as well. If he told him his back was bleeding, Rabastan would start fussing over him and Harry couldn't afford that. The man sounded strained enough already,

"I'm fine. It's just hurting a little."

The grill slid open and Harry pushed himself away from the wall and walked to Voldemort's office. As soon as he was inside, he collapsed in Voldemort's chair and closed his eyes. He rested his head against the back of the chair and swung his legs over Voldemort's desk. He had never felt more relieved to be off his feet. Rabastan's presence in the room was amazingly comforting. The pain in his back gradually began to recede to a dull throb and the blood stopped flowing. Harry felt it crusting up on his back and just wanted to wash it away.

Rabastan watched Harry as he slept. He had dozed off an hour and a half ago but he knew that Harry had been in unimaginable pain before that. Voldemort appeared inside the office silently and Rabastan instantly fell on his knees. He was about to speak when Rabastan pressed a finger to his lips, signalling him to remain silent. He watched Voldemort as he looked at Harry and saw affection and fondness burning in his crimson eyes,

"Even in his sleep he continues to defy me."

Rabastan nodded silently. It was what he admired most about Harry, his defiance. No man could have lived if they had even touched The Dark Lord's chair and Harry was resting in it like he belonged there,

"Rabastan, you and I shall be having a tête-à-tête very soon. Some things have come to my attention and I can no longer ignore them."

Rabastan's heart was beating hard in his chest. Could the Dark Lord possibly know that he had been taking care of Harry? It shouldn't be possible. But the threat in the Dark Lord's tone was unmistakable,

"You may leave for now."

Rabastan bowed his head, rose to his feet and left the office.

Voldemort watched him leave and turned his attention back to Harry. He had forgotten the intensity of the connection between them. He stepped closer and raised his hand to touch Harry but thought better of it and let his hand fall. He should hate him after everything that had happened, after everything that he had seen but he couldn't. Every time he set his eyes on him, his heart melted into a puddle and all negative thoughts and feelings went down the drain. These past weeks he had missed him. He hadn't thought it possible but seeing Harry now, he realized how badly he had missed him. Having him close made him feel inadvertently complete. Harry's eyelids flickered and then they opened revealing emerald green eyes.

Harry blinked the sleep away and then focused his attention on Voldemort,

"Oh, hey. How long were you gone?"

Harry stretched his legs on the desk but showed no inclination to remove them or get up from his seat,

"Two hours."

Harry nodded more to himself than to Voldemort,

"You didn't pass the act, right?"

Voldemort conjured a chair and took a seat,

"No, I have not."

Harry crossed his arms over his chest,

"I'm going to assume you're telling the truth even though I don't trust you at all."

Voldemort raised an eyebrow at that and then spoke,

"There are a few things I wish to ask you, Harry."

Harry rested his head back against the chair and spoke,

"Okay. Ask."

Voldemort mentally decided which question to ask first,

"Where were you for the past few weeks?"

Harry closed his eyes and Voldemort's attention was drawn back to Harry's gloved hands as he flexed his fingers,

"That's none of your concern."

He wasn't the least bit fazed by Harry's reply. He had expected it and he was more than willing to play twenty questions with Harry right now,

"Did you return to Dumbledore?"

Harry's eyes snapped open and for a moment he saw a mixture of pain and horror in those eyes but it vanished instantly and was replaced by indignation,

"I told you it's none of your concern."

Voldemort clasped his fingers together,

"This is how this is going to happen. I expect an answer from you and it shall either be yes or no. There is no in between."

Harry held Voldemort's gaze and spoke out,

"I am not bound to answer any of your questions."

Voldemort rose to his feet, rested his hands on the armrests of Harry's chair and leaned over him. Harry leaned away from him as much as the chair allowed him but he was trapped and Voldemort knew that Harry realized it,

"Do you remember our last question and answer session?"

Harry just glared up at him silently. So, he spoke again,

"Do not make me bind you because you are well aware of the fact that I am perfectly capable of it. Yes or no, Harry. Do you understand that?"

Harry nodded his head resentfully and looked away.

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