Part I - Harrymachy
Harry opened his eyes. Everything was dark. Where was he? Inside his cupboard at the Dursleys'? No, that had been many years ago. What was the last thing he could remember?
He recalled Bill and Fleur's wedding; all his friends gathered, having fun... He also remembered he had decided to go alone to Godric's Hollow; he didn't want Ron and Hermione to run unnecessary risks.
Yes, he had gone to Godric's Hollow. Now he could remember. When he had arrived in the cottage that had belonged to his parents, he had been attacked... He hadn't been able to see his attackers.
Now he was inside a kind of trunk, tied up and gagged; not the most comfortable of circumstances. Maybe he should pretend he was back in his cupboard at the Dursleys'; it wasn't very different, and he was used to the feeling. Maybe he should try to sleep.
But suddenly there was a noise, and the trunk was opened.
Harry found himself face to face with one of the wizards he most hated in the world.
The same greasy hair and hooked nose. The same cold, empty eyes that looked like dark tunnels.
Snape levitated him out of the trunk and into an armchair. Harry struggled to get rid of the ropes and the gag.
"Calm down, Potter. Those ropes are like Devil's Snare: the more you struggle, the more they bind you."
Harry looked around. They were in a large bedroom in a style Harry couldn't identify. Besides the comfortable leather armchair where Snape had placed him, there was a bed, a wardrobe and a dressing table, all in solid, dark wood. There was a window, but its curtains were shut. The only light came from a few lamps on the walls.
Snape moved nearer, blocking Harry's view. "If you promise to behave, I shall remove your gag. Then we can talk like two civilized wizards," said Snape, voice dripping with sarcasm. "Will you behave?"
Harry almost burst with rage, but ended up nodding.
Snape removed the gag with his own hands. Weird. Harry had expected Snape to use his wand, keeping his distance. But Snape wasn't even holding a wand.
"Tsk, tsk, Potter. If this is your idea of good behaviour, I shall have to put the gag back on."
Harry wanted to punch him, but his arms were tied. "How could Dumbledore be so blind as to trust you? You are a..."
Snape held Harry's head and gagged him again. "Since you insist on making a spectacle of your idiocy, I have no alternative. Moreover, I have bad news for you: you will have to stay here for a long time. The sooner you learn to behave, the better."
Snape pivoted on his heel, making his robes flap around, and left the bedroom, closing the door behind him.
Harry promised himself he wouldn't despair. He wouldn't give Snape the pleasure of seeing him panic. He had to think. Why had they brought him here? It must have been on Voldemort's orders. But then why hadn't Voldemort shown up yet, and why had Snape told Harry he would have to stay here for a long time? How long was a long time? Two hours? Two days? Two months?
The ropes bound him tighter and tighter, because he couldn't stay put.
~* ~* ~
Snape came back a few minutes later, levitating a tray. As soon as he entered the bedroom, he turned the dressing table into a dining table and landed the tray on it. He turned a stool into a chair and then flicked his wand towards Harry. "Evanesco!"
The ropes and gag disappeared, and Harry was free. He was also too tired and bewildered to fight Snape.
"I have brought you tea," said Snape, as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
Harry saw a teapot, a jar with a green paste, another jar with a red jam, toast, rolls and yellow cakes on the tray. "I'm not hungry. I want to know why I'm here."
"I cannot give you this information. If I were you, I would eat. Dinner shall be served late, in about three hours. When you finish your tea, you can take a bath. Your personal bathroom is behind you. You shall find towels and everything you might need there. If you need anything that is not there, let me know and I shall see what I can do."
With that, Snape left the bedroom again.
Harry roamed the bedroom quickly, searching for an exit, an escape. He tried to force the door, but failed. He tried to do wandless magic, shouting Alohomora and all the spells he knew, but nothing worked. He ran to the window, pulled the curtains and was pleased to find he could look outside.
Merlin's beard. They were in a totally unknown place, in a country estate in the middle of a forest. The house was big and painted white. He was on the first floor. The trees were a luscious green, and looked tropical, from what he had seen in magazines and on television. There were blossoming trees, covered with flowers of many colours: lilac, white, carmine, and yellow. The setting sun was intense, tainting the twilight clouds rose and orange. The earth was reddish brown.
There were bars on the window, however. Just like in his old bedroom in the Dursleys'.
He couldn't find an exit. In the elegant bathroom, all in green marble, there was only a fanlight.
Harry used the toilet, then washed his hands and face and stared at the mirror over the sink. Thank Merlin; it was a plain Muggle mirror. Harry's face was pale and gaunt. No wonder. He went back to his bedroom, disheartened. His stomach grumbled; as he didn't have anything to do, he helped himself to a cup of tea and grabbed a slice of toast.
He sniffed the green paste before spreading it on his toast and taking a bite of it. Delicious.
~* ~* ~
Having finished his tea, Harry opened the wardrobe and found a few robes and nightshirts hung inside. There were also some socks, boxers and briefs in the drawers. All of the clothes were Harry's size, and apparently new.
Harry picked a dark red robe and black boxers and went to take a bath. He shut the bathroom door. He wished he could lock it, because he didn't trust the greasy bat, but there weren't any bolts or latches. Anyway, bolts or latches wouldn't stop Snape: he had a wand, and Harry did not. If Snape wanted to do anything improper to him, all Harry could do was to defend himself with hands and legs - and he would certainly do his best.
Harry prepared a bath with a cinnamon-scented liquid soap and entered the warm water. He tried to relax, but failed. He knew the fact he was being well treated didn't mean he was going to be spared. After all, Voldemort wanted to kill him.
There was only one way to get out of here: he would have to catch Snape unprepared and steal his wand. He had to develop a plan, and quickly. He didn't have the faintest idea of what they were planning to do with him, and when.
His first idea was to wait behind the bedroom door with something heavy and knock Snape over the head with it as soon as he entered.
Harry got out of the bath, dried himself, dressed and emptied a small drawer. Its wood was very solid. Hitting Snape's head with it would certainly make him see stars.
~* ~* ~
Harry waited for more than twenty minutes before the door opened. He sneaked up from behind it and... blam!
When it touched Snape's head, the drawer pulverised itself. Dust spread everywhere, including the plates on the tray Snape was carrying in his hand.
The enraged expression that flashed across Snape's face made Harry pale immediately. Snape still showed enough control to set the tray on the table before throwing Harry onto the bed and casting Incarcerous to bind him and.
Snape loomed over Harry, fists clenched. "Stupid brat. Did you think I would trust you? Grow up!"
He's going to hex me or kill me, Harry thought. I'll try to distract him. "How did you do that?" Harry was really curious. After all, as headstrong as Snape could be, pulverising a solid wooden drawer wasn't an easy thing to do.
"How delusional you are, if you take me for one of those villains who gloat at their victims and spill the beans..."
"Ha!" Harry couldn't help sneering. "Like Voldemort, you mean?"
"Don't say his name."
"Yeah, right. If you don't want to tell me, don't."
"Why would I tell you, if you have just proven how untrustworthy you are?"
With a certain relief, Harry saw Snape unclench his fists and walk away towards the table. "You have ruined your dinner. Don't think I'm going to bring you a replacement."
"I don't want to eat. I'll go on a hunger strike until you release me."
Harry realised he had said the wrong words when Snape turned around and rushed towards him, eyes glowing in rage. "Very smart." Snape grabbed him by the shoulders and squeezed them fiercely. "Is that how you plan to finish the Dark Lord? Become weaker, so that he can destroy you more easily?"
Harry wanted to beat him or to cry, because he was right. "Which are side you on, Snape?"
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
"There are only two possibilities. Either you're on Voldemort's side, or you have your own agenda. Worse than his, I'm sure."
Snape's lips curled in a sinister smirk. "You have no idea, brat."
Snape left the room, taking the tray with him and leaving Harry tied up on the bed.
Harry thought about screaming, but he wouldn't humiliate himself. He tried to calm down. He was tied up, but he could try to sleep. After all, he was very, very tired.
Ptyx, October 2005