Chapter 61

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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 kicked open the door to his office and stomped in. Umbridge immediately jumped to her feet to greet him. Ignoring her completely, he made his way to his chair. She just wasn't fun anymore…always seeking his approval…always trying to flatter him. He had liked her better when she had been a sadistic bitch. He had no doubt that deep inside she still was and he also knew that she probably fantasized about torturing him all the time but she just didn't show it anymore and he despised it. Why did people have to be such hypocrites? Maybe he was one too.

He collapsed in his chair and started coughing. His covered his mouth with one hand and began rummaging through his drawer, for a handkerchief, with the other. Of course, he didn't find it. Things had a habit of disappearing right when he needed them. He stopped rummaging and held the edge of the table as his cough grew more insistent and his chest and stomach started aching like hell. He felt something soft against his hand and when he opened his eyes, he found a pink handkerchief lying in front of him on the table. He picked it up and held it over his mouth as he bent over the table and rested his forehead against the cool surface of the wood, trying to ease the excruciating pain in his stomach. It passed but Harry didn't straighten up. Breathing was the most difficult action to perform at the moment and he concentrated on taking one breath after another as steadily as possible. Once he had the pattern under control, he sat up straight and looked at the now crimson handkerchief. He slid it over the desk towards Umbridge with a grin,


She looked up from the file she was working on and grimaced at the sight of the bloody wad. She pushed it back towards Harry with the edge of her quill with disgust apparent on her face and breathed out,

"Keep it, My Lord."

Harry picked up the glass of water from the table and downed it in one but the metallic, bitter taste remained in his mouth. He picked up the blood-soaked handkerchief and was glad that Dumbledore had tortured him. He didn't have to panic about people seeing the blood if he was about to have a coughing fit. Harry had expected Voldemort to tell the world about his weakness and vulnerability. He had expected Voldemort to tell everyone that he had been tortured By Dumbledore and his hands had been rendered useless in the process but Voldemort hadn't and no one knew. The only thing Voldemort had told everyone was that Harry was not to be messed with, no matter what he did. Besides, this wasn't the first cough attack he'd had the ministry. He had them frequently…in fact he'd had the first one in a meeting when Voldemort and most of his important death eaters had been present. Voldemort hadn't outwardly reacted and continued the meeting as if nothing had happened. Harry had been glad about that. He tossed the handkerchief back on the table and spoke,

"What's on my agenda today?"

Umbridge conjured a file and began looking through it. Finally, she spoke,

"You are required to preside over a hearing today."

Harry groaned and covered his face with his hands. He hated the courtrooms and the entire bloody Wizengamot which coincidentally he was a part of as well. He hadn't presided over a hearing before though. Voldemort had presided over all of them and he had been present there in the capacity of Senior Undersecretary,

"Why isn't Voldemort presiding over it?"

Umbridge shuffled through the papers and spoke,

"The Dark Lord is meeting with the delegation from the French Magical Department today."

Harry picked up a file marked urgent from the stack on his side of the desk and began thumbing through it,

"When is it?"

Umbridge closed the file and her amusement was obvious in her voice,

"It starts in an hour, My Lord."

Harry didn't care about what Umbridge found so amusing as two more files popped up on the stack. He was more concerned about the ever-growing stack of files on his desk,


He was about get up and go look for her himself when the door opened and Bella sulked in. Her expression brightened up visibly when she caught sight of the blood-soaked handkerchief on the desk. Harry knew she absolutely loved watching him in pain and he was pretty certain that she wished for his death every second but unlike Umbridge she expressed her hatred for him…well only when Voldemort wasn't around…and that was the only thing he liked about her. Harry glared at her and pointed to the stack,

"Get to work, Bella."

Bella was still eyeing the handkerchief and when she was seated, Harry balled it up in his hand and tossed it in her lap. She jumped up to her feet with a disgusted screech and the handkerchief dropped to the floor. Harry focused his attention back to the file in his lap and crooned with a grin,

"You were eyeing it with such longing. I thought you wanted it."

He could practically feel Bella glaring daggers at him but he ignored her and addressed Umbridge instead,

"There's a party tomorrow night."

Umbridge ahemed annoyingly and the sound grated on his nerves,

"Perhaps a celebratory ball is a more appropriate word."

Harry shrugged,

"Give it whatever fancy pureblood name you want. What I want is for you to get the invitations ready for that."

Harry thought for a moment before adding,

"The Goblins will be in attendance. I'll be delivering the invite to the Goblins personally so make sure you have them ready by this evening."

Bella looked like she was bursting to say something and Harry drawled,

"Speak your mind, Bella."

Bella scowled,

"Mind your own business. Those decisions are for The Dark Lord to make."

Harry laughed,

"He'll go with whatever I decide. I think that was made very clear this morning."

That shut her up perfectly and Umbridge asked,

"The venue, My Lord?"

Harry picked up his file again and replied dispassionately,

"Malfoy Manor."

The hour passed uneventfully and Harry finally got up from his seat and stretched. The hearing was about to start. He was about to exit the office when Umbridge cleared her throat,

"The Wizengamot robes, My Lord."

Harry scowled. He absolutely loathed those plum covered robes and he'd only worn them to the hearings before because Voldemort was presiding over them and insisted that he follow the traditions. Today was a different case. He was in charge and he wasn't going to wear those terrible robes,

"Nope, not wearing them."

Bella sneered and muttered something under her breath about him being a half blood and not deserving to wear them anyway. Harry would have ignored her comment but it fitted on Voldemort as well and that filled him up with rage. He stalked up to her and spoke,

"Why don't you tell that to Voldemort as well since he's a half blood too or better yet I'll tell him your views on this matter. I'm sure he'll find them absolutely entertaining."

Her enjoyed the terror those words instilled in her. It seemed she hadn't forgotten the last punishment. Harry looked at the clock and tsked,

"Look what you did. Now, I'm late for the hearing."

He moved his hand through his hair and was about to open the door when someone knocked on it. He pulled it open and found a death eater standing there, holding a tray laden with a plate full of sandwiches, a glass of pumpkin juice and two phials of potions. Harry sighed. He hated how Voldemort had made him his number one priority. He could always skip breakfast because Voldemort wasn't at the Manor in the morning and Draco was easy to intimidate. He couldn't skip his meals at the ministry because there were too many people who were ready to tell on him…Bella and Umbridge were on top of that list because at the ministry they were responsible to ensure that Harry ate regular meals and took his potions on time,

"I'm running late for a hearing. I'll have that later."

Bella rose to her feet,

"Not later. Now. The Dark Lord has issued very specific orders about your meals."

Bella was smiling way too smugly and he wanted to wipe that expression off her face. This was the one matter regarding him that Voldemort had given her a free hand in. She was authorized to force the meals down his throat if he refused. So far, he hadn't given her an opportunity but he knew that Bella was dying to do it. He nodded at the death eater and spoke,

"Follow me."

Harry stopped and asked,

"Where is the hearing?"

Before Umbridge could reply, Bella piped up cheerfully,

"Courtroom ten."

Harry shook his head in exasperation. His day had started off great but now it was steadily growing terrible. He couldn't wait for this day to be over. Harry was growing mildly suspicious about all this. First, he was presiding over a hearing. Second, Umbridge had seemed amused when she had told him about the hearing. Third, Bella seemed oddly cheerful about it and lastly, it was taking place in courtroom ten…of all the courtrooms in the ministry. Something was definitely up. Harry only grew more suspicious as Bellatrix was positively jumping with excitement through the elevator ride down. Harry almost pitied the death eater still holding the tray. They made their way through the corridor. Somehow, this time, the door to the department of mysteries didn't fill him up with grief. It only made his heart twinge a little but that was it. He turned to the stairs and the sound of people talking in hushed whispers caught his attention. As he turned the corner and stepped into the corridor that contained the door to courtroom ten, he came to a complete standstill at the sight in front of him. Damn it! He should have known...

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