I'm not trying to scare you…
Harry jolted. Was that-? He tried to keep his face passive, as if he hadn't just heard the voice.
It's me Harry, it's been me all along.
Harry furiously shook his head. He didn't believe this for a second.
I'm not lying young one…
Harry stood staring at the Dark Lord. This couldn't be right. It was impossible. Somehow Voldemort had found out about Dumbledore's form of communication and was using it to manipulate Harry. But Harry refused to let it work. He wouldn't let Voldemort take away the one hope he clung to. The man had already taken so much from him, he wouldn't let him take that away from him too.
"Stop. You're lying and I know it. Somehow you found out about the voice and you're trying to use it against me."
Believe me little snake…
"SHUT UP!" Harry screamed in defiance. That nickname… that had been the voice's nickname for him… no, this wasn't possible. It just couldn't be possible. Voldemort took a few more steps towards the boy while Harry was distracted. They stood only about 10 feet from each other now.
It's been me the whole time Harry. I'm the one who has taken care of you, who has comforted you while you slept, who has healed your wounds…
"No. I don't believe you." Harry said defiantly, but his voice wavering. How did Voldemort know about all of that? "Dumbledore sent the voice, he's the one who healed me. I know it."
Believe me… I promised to keep you safe, to protect you. Promised to come for you…
Harry silently shook his head, too shocked to voice his thoughts anymore. Could Voldemort read minds from a distance? Impossible. Legilimency involved eye contact. Though he was The Dark Lord after all… he knew of magic that normal wizards could only dream of.
I healed you after your uncle harmed you, I saved you from the Dementors, I-
"What? No, you weren't even there during the Dementor attack! You're lying! I'm not a bloody idiot!"
Voldemort spoke aloud now. "Did you hear the voice Harry? During the attack?" Harry didn't answer but Voldemort pushed. "Did you hear it?"
"Did you feel me? I protected you." Voldemort paused. "… I came for you as I promised."
Harry didn't answer, he couldn't will his voice to work. This was impossible. Harry didn't know what to do, so many thoughts were flying through his brain. How did Voldemort know all of these things? How did he know… everything?
Voldemort looked down at the boy who suddenly seemed so small. He was young, only 12 years old, soon to be 13. Harry was smart, but Voldemort knew it would take a long time for him to understand. He noticed that tears were forming in the boy's eyes.
"I- I did not mean to make you upset little snake."
"Don't call me that." Harry snapped, suddenly finding his voice. "I don't know how you know about all of this, and honestly I don't care. Dumbledore knows I'm here."
"Dumbledore has nothing to do with this child." Voldemort said, slight venom in his voice. The mention of the old coot made his blood boil. How he hated that man. "Dumbledore is not the man you think he is."
"YES HE IS! He's a great wizard! A hero! And he's a lot more powerful than you'll ever be!" Harry screamed, sounding much like a stubborn child his age should. He always sounded so mature for his age, but then again being forced to the front lines of a war certainly would cause someone to grow up much too quickly. But the young irrational boy would still creep through every once in a while. Harry looked into the pale man's red eyes, seemingly trying to kill him with the look of hatred.
It was quiet for a while with Harry trying to sort out his thoughts and Voldemort trying to give him his space. Voldemort looked around the room and saw the chocolates still sitting on the bedside table.
"There is chocolate over there if you'd like," He said, gesturing to the golden boxes. Harry looked at the man, confused. Was he really being offered candy? "You look exhausted." Voldemort added.
"I'm not an idiot, I'm not eating anything you give me. I don't trust you."
Sweet Salazar this boy is stubborn, Voldemort thought. It was understandable after all Voldemort had put him through, but Merlin was it annoying. "Harry you almost died from a Dementor attack, you need chocolate. Now eat it. I didn't do anything to it. If I wanted to kill or harm you I would have done so long ago… and I certainly wouldn't have allowed you to camp out in the bathroom for so long."
Harry looked distrustfully at the man. Now that he thought about it, he was tired… he suddenly felt weak, as if the reminder of the attack triggered the exhaustion. He walked over to the boxes on the table, full of delicious looking chocolate, keeping his eyes on the Dark Lord the entire time. He looked between the boxes and Voldemort and, deciding that Voldemort would much rather kill Harry with a Crucio as opposed to chocolate, took a piece and ate it. It tasted heavenly, and Harry flopped down onto the bed behind him without thinking.
Silence settled over the room again as Harry ate. His body felt normal, so he figured Voldemort had been telling the truth after all. A pleasant tingling made its way through Harry's body as he continued to eat.
Harry felt Voldemort's intense eyes on him… it felt awkward being stared at so intently. What was the man looking for?
"Why haven't you killed me yet?" Harry said quietly, breaking the silence.
"That's something I will explain at another time."
Harry pressed on, not accepting that answer for even a second. "You have been trying to find and kill me for years… then you claim to 'rescue' me," Harry said with an eye roll "you bring me back to your lair, and then you don't even throw one curse at me. I don't believe it."
"You don't believe a lot of what I tell you..."
"Well excuse me for not trusting the man who murdered my parents and who has been trying to kill me for the past few years."
"Do you want me to hurt you, boy?" Voldemort said, sounding irritated.
"No!" Harry said quickly, maybe he was asking for trouble he didn't really want. "I just- I don't understand…"
"Then you should appreciate the fact that you're still uninjured and standing. You will understand soon enough. I will tell you in time."
"In time?! You mean I have to stay- wait a minute. I know..." Harry said, suddenly working it out in his mind. "You're using me as bait. Luring Dumbledore and the others in…"
"I'm tired of this. Eat your chocolate, I will explain later and that is that." Voldemort said with a tone of finality.
"So what? You're just going to keep me here? Feed me chocolate and then send me to a dungeon?"
"I'm not sending you to a dungeon. You will stay here, but you will be comfortable so long as you behave correctly." Harry scoffed. "Believe what you will, I do not care at this moment. I will be gone for a while, you will stay in this room and entertain yourself until I return."
"You heard me. There are books on the wall behind you, I'm sure there is something there that will keep your interest for an hour or two."
"I'm not staying here!" Harry said jumping to his feet, feeling 100 times better after eating the chocolate.
"You will. There is no point in arguing." Voldemort said as he turned and walked to the main door. "I will be back shortly and then you will eat. For now read, sit, play, do whatever, you're old enough to entertain yourself for a while." Voldemort spun on his heels and was out the door before Harry could blink. Harry stood there for a moment, mouth open. Voldemort was really just going to keep him locked in this room like a pet? For how long?
Harry ran towards the door, grabbing the doorknob in a futile attempt to open it. He knew it was hopeless, the Dark Lord wouldn't just leave the door unlocked, but he had to try. He shook the handle but it didn't budge. He slammed his hand against the door. "I'M NOT GOING TO STAY IN HERE FOREVER! THEY WILL COME FOR ME!" He gave the door one good kick with his foot for emphasis.
He turned around and examined the room. He glanced at the bed that he had toppled from earlier- the sheets still askew. A bookshelf lined the entire opposite wall aside from the door to the bathroom Harry had previously occupied. A desk was to the left as well as a large window that Harry somehow hadn't noticed before now in the chaos. He ran over to it and tried to open it. Same as the door, it didn't budge. He looked out the window and down to the ground, there was no way he could climb down anyway without killing himself- they had to be three stories high, maybe four. Harry looked around outside. From the window he could see that vibrant green grass surrounded the house and a forest looked to be about a mile or so in the distance. Harry could see the edge of a garden from where he stood. It was beautiful he had to admit.
The boy left the window and looked towards the bookcase. He really wasn't in the mood to read, the books would probably curse or attempt to eat him anyway knowing the Dark Lord. Now that the chaos had stopped so abruptly and Harry was alone he realized he was quite tired. The weakness and exhaustion from the Dementor attack had worn off, but Harry still felt like he hadn't slept for days. His body had been through so much in the last few hours and it seemed to want to collapse on him. The only furniture to sit on in the room was the large bed, a wooden chair behind the desk, and a couple of large armchairs near the bookcase. Harry knew falling asleep was a dumb idea but suddenly his eyes were so heavy… he just wanted to rest, just for a few minutes. He considered sitting in one of the armchairs but changed his mind. His stubbornness had crept through once more and he refused to use the Dark Lord's furniture simply out of spite. And Merlin knew he'd sleep outside in the cold before he slept in Voldemort's bed. Harry knew he was only torturing himself, that his stubbornness would really affect Voldemort in no way, but nevertheless he walked over to the rug near the fireplace and sat down. The rug was extraordinarily soft, and honestly he'd probably be more comfortable lying down on it than sitting up in one of the armchairs anyway.
Harry lied down, situating himself so that he faced the fire. It was so warm… he was so tired… Just for a few minutes, he thought to himself as his eyes closed and he fell instantly asleep.
"Harry, wake up." A hand touched Harry's shoulder gently. He moaned and rolled over. "Harry… it's time to move to the bed." Harry mumbled, not entirely sure himself what he was trying to communicate other than there was no way he was moving away from the warm fire. He had been sleeping deeply and his body was quickly pulling him back into unconsciousness. "Harry you are not an animal, I will not allow you to sleep on the floor." Harry brought his legs up to his chest and curled into a ball. He felt arms under him and suddenly he was being lifted. His sleep-heavy mind paid no attention, not giving any thought to who was carrying him. All he knew was he was being taken away from the fire.
"Nooo…" He mumbled as his face turned into something firm but warm. He distantly heard a chuckle.
"You will be comfortable in the bed, do not worry." Harry had still not opened his eyes but he felt himself being laid onto something soft and silky. Blankets were pulled around him and were being situated so that they fit snuggly around his small body. He felt a hand moving through his hair, gently smoothing it down.
Sleep well, my little snake…