Elusion

Chapter 48

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Summary: Madness is not a state of mind. Madness is a place. What happens when Harry stumbles into it and gets trapped there? A Harry Potter version of Alice in Wonderland but a thousand shades darker.

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Harry was leaning against the fountain, trying to make himself appear as casual as possible. His back was killing him and black spots danced in front of his vision every once in a while. Bella was kneeling at Voldemort's feet and for the second time that day, the Atrium was crowded by Death Eaters. His eyelids felt too heavy and Harry resisted the urge to let them flutter shut. He was aware of the fact that every gaze in the vicinity was fixed at him, or his neck to be more specific. Voldemort was saying something to Bella but Harry couldn't make out the words. His voice sounded too distant. No, he wasn't going to pass out. He just wouldn't. Voldemort's crimson gaze came to rest on him and Harry realized he had asked him a question but he hadn't heard it. Damn it. Harry cleared his throat and spoke but his voice still came out too weak,

"Yeah?"

Voldemort cocked an eyebrow at him questioningly and then spoke smoothly,

"It seems you have not been paying attention, Harry?"

Harry's vision blacked out for a split second and he willed it to clear. When his vision came back he saw a curiously concerned expression on Voldemort's face,

"Harry, are you alright? You've gone as pale as a sheet."

Harry nodded and spoke as indignantly as possible,

"I'm fine. Worry about your death eaters."

Voldemort's concern did not fade but he turned away and addressed the death eaters,

"My loyal followers, you must be wondering why I have asked for your presence here."

He looked down at Bella and his voice dropped dangerously low but was still audible in the pin drop silence,

"Bella, tell them why you are here."

Bella spoke something incomprehensible under her breath and Voldemort gripped her hair tightly and made her look up at him,

"Louder, Bella. You seemed to have no problem shouting when you were firing curses at Harry a few moments ago."

Bella's lips moved again but no sound came out. Voldemort tsked,

"Perhaps a little persuasion is required."

Voldemort crucioed her and her screams echoed around the Atrium. Harry couldn't help but smirk at Bella's suffering. He wanted her to die. Please just let her die. He made a loud sound of disapproval when Voldemort cancelled the curse a minute later and turned to look at Harry with a smirk on his face,

"What did you call Harry, Bella."

Bella coughed and rasped out,

"I called him a…"

Voldemort laughed harshly and tugged on her hair,

"Out with it."

Bella cleared her throat and spoke,

"I called him a who…"

Voldemort had struck Bella hard across the face and the sound echoed through the Atrium. If looks could kill then the expression on Voldemort's face was it. Harry looked down at Bella and was mildly disappointed to find her still alive. He gripped the edge of the fountain tightly as his vision went dark again,

"DO NOT UTTER THAT WORD AGAIN!"

Voldemort's booming voice cleared his thoughts a bit and he couldn't help but laugh,

"Ask them."

He signalled towards the death eaters,

"Ask them that how many of them think that I am your whore."

Harry saw most of the death eaters visibly flinch and laughed harder,

"They all think that in one way or another. Are you going to torture all of them?"

Voldemort drew closer to him and gripped his chin tightly,

"They are my death eaters. I shall deal with them as I see fit."

Harry shrugged away from him,

"Deal with them however you want. I just want you to kill Bella. Are you going to do it?"

Bella laughed hoarsely,

"You can never outweigh my loyalty."

Harry ignored her and kept his gaze fixed on Voldemort's,

"Are you going to kill her?"

Voldemort stepped away from him and spoke,

"No."

Even though Harry had expected that, it still stung him. He gritted his teeth and pushed himself away from the fountain,

"I'm sure my presence here is no longer needed."

He turned away and willed himself to walk towards the nearest fireplace. Voldemort caught his wrist,

"Where do you think you are going?"

Harry jerked his wrist out of his grip,

"I'm not going back to report my new findings to Dumbledore, if you're worried about that and I'm not vanishing. Just tell me where you're meeting the bloody vampires. I'll be there."

Voldemort looked ready enough to grab him and drag him away from the fireplace,

"Malfoy Manor."

Harry chuckled softly. Good. That was here he was going right now. He took a handful of floo powder and dropped it in the fireplace,

"Malfoy Manor."

He stepped into the green flames without a backward glance at Voldemort and vanished. He stepped into the living room of Malfoy Manor and brushed the ash off his robes on the expensive carpet. Draco appeared in the living room and stared wild eyed at Harry,

"You're back?"

Harry ignored him and walked past him. He made his up the stairs to the room, he had stayed in when he had been here last night. He was aware of Draco trailing after him and asking him meaningless questions that he couldn't focus on. He stepped into the room and slammed the door in his face. He pulled off his robes and placed them carefully on the bed. After that he stripped down to his black briefs and looked at his shirt. The blood had soaked through it. A few more minutes and his robes would have been soaked as well.

Harry stepped over the edge of the bath tub and undid the blood-soaked dressings on his back. Dropping them on the tiled floor, he turned on the shower and stepped under the warm spray. His gaze was fixed at his feet where the water running down his body turned from clear to red in the blink of an eye. Harry rested his gloved palms on the wall and drew in several deep breaths as the pain steadily grew unbearable. He opened his eyes and a thought struck him. He hadn't taken off the gloves. Afraid that they would have been soaked, he brought them close to his eyes and realized that they weren't wet at all. He relaxed visibly and leaned against the wall, better exposing his back to the spray. He groaned out which soon turned into an insistent cough. That was the last straw because he felt all vestiges of strength leave his body and slid down into the bath tub. Resting his head on the edge, he turned off the shower and finally closed his eyes.

Voldemort paced his office, burning up with rage. Harry was a bundle of contradictions and he couldn't understand him. He just couldn't understand him no matter how hard he tried. Harry changed moods faster than a chameleon changed colours. No, he'd had enough and it was time he got some answers. He snapped his fingers and a death eater came rushing into the room,

"Tell Rabastan that I wish to have a word with him."

The Death Eater hurried away and Voldemort sat down. It was a good thing that Harry had left the ministry because he was going to have more than just a word with Rabastan. He fully intended to make that bloody traitor spill out all his secrets. The only reason he had held back up until now was because he was waiting for Harry to return and now that he had, there was nothing holding him back.

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