Solitary Confinement

Challenge: In an effort to make them get along, Dumbledore locks Snape and Harry in a classroom for 72 hours. What do these two talk and/or think about during these three days and three nights? Make some mention of Harry's nightmares and/or the Dursleys.


Disclaimer: I own nothing but the disk space I saved it on.

A/N: In response to Tilly's challenge on Potions and Snitches. I'm very into challenges, aren't I? I suppose it's due to my lack of imagination recently, plus this one sounded extremely fun to do. I'm surprised no one else has responded to it, actually. This will be relatively short, lasting about five chapters or so, not quite as long as Turnabout but hopefully just as eventful. I hope to beta it, but due to lack of an actual volunteer I may have to rely on myself. God, save us all. Set during OotP.


Initial Inferno

"Again," growled Snape fiercely. He aimed his wand at the young wizard before him, who was slowly rising on trembling legs. Without waiting for his student to recover himself he snarled, "Legilimens."

Harry was back on his knees instantly, trying his utmost to thwart the Potions Masters invasion of his mind. Images of the Dursleys flashed to the forefront. His uncle grabbing him by the hair and tossing him into his cupboard under the stairs. Aunt Petunia screeching at him for missing a weed in her garden. Dudley and his hostile assemblage of antagonising friends chasing him through Magnolia Crescent, catching him, and beating him.

An abrupt pulling sensation and then the halt of the images signalled the end of Snape's rummaging. Harry peered up at the Head of Slytherin from his position on the floor, panting heavily.

He hated this. Hated every second of it. It was torture, a slow and painful way of driving him mad. He couldn't bare the thought that Snape knew all of the shameful secrets concerning his home life. That he saw and knew the worst of Harry's history. For that, he hated him. Harry hadn't asked for this, it was no one else's fault except Snape. Who had asked him to watch everything? Who had asked him to pay particular attention to those memories? No one.

The evil ponce, Harry raged internally. Snape watched him impatiently.

"Get up," he commanded coldly, "the Dark Lord will not allow you a reprieve. On your feet, Potter."

Harry glared at him furiously. He was breathing heavily, but not from the remnants of the Legilimency.

"No."

"Excuse me?" asked Snape dangerously. His tone was venomously quiet, his eyes narrowed, his hands balled into fists. He was practically crushing the delicate wand clutched in his right hand.

"I said 'no'," said Harry flatly, although his eyes blazed with fury. His cheeks were tinged with a red hue, as was his vision. He'd had enough.

"You will get up Potter, unless you'd like Gryffindor to still be in the minuses when your grandchildren attend," growled Snape darkly.

Harry leered at the floor from his kneeling position.

"Grandchildren – sir?" he added as an afterthought, "I'll be lucky to reach my seventh year."

"Always the martyr," said Snape scathingly. "I won't tell you again, Potter. Get. Up."

"No," Harry all but whispered. Snape stalk towards him threateningly, but he remained frozen. He'd nearly reached an unmoving Harry, who didn't even look at him as he advanced, and reached out one frigid, white hand. He snatched hold the front of Harry's robes, and with the other, held fast onto his wand.

Click.

Harry glanced up. Snape froze. The noise had come from behind them. He twisted his head to look over his shoulder, which was rather difficult with the uncomfortably tight collar pulling at his skin. He looked towards the office door. His best friend from this side of the room. It was his freedom.

Snape let go of his hold, forcefully shoving Harry aside. He quickly made his way towards the door and turned the handle. The door didn't even concede to its usual rattle. Snape pushed against it. Nothing happened. Harry stayed where he was and watched, his eyes wide.

"There's no need, Severus," said a slightly muffled voice from the other side of the door. It was Dumbledore. Snape glared through the wood so fiercely Harry wouldn't have been surprised if the door burst into flames. "I have locked the door."

"Headmaster, what is the meaning of this?" Snape barked angrily.

"Now, Severus, I think it would be best to inform you when you appear to be somewhat calmer," said Dumbledore matter-of-factly.

"I am calm!" snarled Snape at the door.

"Of course, the perfect picture of tranquillity," said Dumbledore good-naturedly. Harry could practically see the twinkle through the smouldering wood. Snape growled menacingly. Harry was quite enjoying the spectacle.

... Wait ... He was stuck there too!

"Professor?" Harry said uncertainly, referring to the Headmaster. He was still sitting on the floor.

"Ah, Harry, my boy. How is Occlumency?" asked Dumbledore curiously, as though he were inquiring about the weather during afternoon tea.

"Erm ... well -" said Harry insecurely. He was afraid to go on with a seething Snape standing but a few feet from him. His previous exhausted determination had dwindled, now replaced with common sense and the instinct of self-preservation. He simply wanted to go to his dormitory and sleep, forgetting any of this had happened.

"I thought as much," Dumbledore said, although there was no rebuke in his tone. In fact, he sounded positively cheerful. "And the reason why the two of you are in this situation, I'm afraid."

"Which situation?" Snape demanded.

"It has been decided that you will be incarcerated until further notice," said Dumbledore matter-of-factly.

"Incarcerated?" Snape and Harry cried in unison.

"Quite," said the Headmaster, "until such a time when you are both able to see past your differences."

"What?" Snape yelled ferociously. He had pressed himself against the door, as though he could sink through the solid wood and emerge on the other side.

"Severus, I am doing this only because it is absolutely necessary," said Dumbledore reassuringly. "You must learn to accept that Harry is not his father. Only then will you be able to teach him Occlumency appropriately. It is of too great an importance not to. If Voldemort selects the correct memory he will learn of your position. He will kill you."

"But -" Harry interjected incredulously.

"And Harry, you must leave this hate you have harboured for Professor Snape behind. Although he hasn't given you much reason to, I assure you, you will both benefit from this. I do not need to press upon you the importance that you learn Occlumency, do I, Harry?" asked Dumbledore firmly, but not unkindly.

"No, sir," muttered Harry miserably. Trapped – with Snape! He glared at the door, the friend that had betrayed him.

"Albus, you cannot do this!" Snape shouted, his fist hitting the door once.

"I'm afraid I must, Severus," said Dumbledore regretfully. He voice sounded slightly further away. "I have placed wards on the door. It is now impenetrable, unbreakable and I will place a silencing charm around the room as soon as I leave. You will be utterly alone, with only one another for company."

Snape looked horrified. Never had Harry seen him quite as discomposed.

"No, Albus!" He called desperately after the Headmaster. "What will we do for food and -"

"There's nothing to worry about, Severus. It has all been arranged," Dumbledore said kindly. "Good evening to you both."

With that they heard the mumbled silencing spell and then nothing.

--

It had been two hours, thirty seven minutes and twenty-two seconds since Professor Dumbledore's departure according to Harry's watch, which he had been studiously watching. He was no longer sitting on the floor but on one of the numerous chairs in the room. Snape, on the other hand, hadn't moved from his vigil by the door. He was crouched on the floor with his back leaning against it, his knees pulled up and his arms resting upon them. He was twirling his wand in one hand distractedly. Otherwise, he hadn't moved for the full two hours, thirty seven minutes and fifty eight seconds.

Harry couldn't see his face, it was hidden by a curtain of Snape's black, greasy hair but he was sure he was glaring fiercely at the floor and cursing Dumbledore to the sixth circle of Hell. He sighed heavily and began drumming his fingers subconsciously on the desk he was sitting behind, listening to the constant drip, drop, drip of water from an unknown source that seemed always to be present in the dungeons.

This isn't so bad, Harry mused, as long as I don't have to speak to him.

How long could the Headmaster possibly keep them locked in? Surely there was a law against such things. It could be considered as kidnap, he thought or perhaps a hostage situation. An image of Dumbledore on his summer holiday, wearing Muggle swimming gear, snorkel and all, being dragged into a court and insisting that he'd done it "for their own good" came into Harry's head.

He grinned to himself.

"Must you?"

Harry jumped. He'd nearly forgotten he wasn't the only occupant in the room. Really, how could he forget? It was Snape. He looked towards the Professor questioningly. Snape still hadn't moved. The twirling wand was the only indication that he was still alive.

"Must I what?" Harry asked, with a bit more bite than he had intended. He mentally berated himself. If they were going to get out of there any time before July he'd have to tone down the venom.

"Continue that insufferable rhythm?" Snape snarled back, a flash of raging obsidian meeting Harry's emerald. He stopped drumming his fingers.

"Oh," he said feebly, and turned fully in his chair to face the desk. He leaned back and crossed his arms before his chest.

They were plunged back into the silence.

Drip. Drop. Drip.

Snape stopped twirling his wand. Harry glanced in his direction from the corner of his eye.

Drip. Drop. Drip.

"Sectumsempra!" Snape bellowed. BANG! Harry jumped from his chair in panic. The desk and chair two rows in front of him seemed to explode before clattering loudly to the floor in pathetic shreds. It looked as though Grawp had gotten a hold of them.

Harry tried to calm his desperate breathing before he brought his attention to Snape, who sighed heavily and then returned to twirling his wand. Harry stared at him.

"What the bloody hell was that?" He asked, astounded.

"A spell," muttered Snape from his position by the door. "One which you are not to know of."

"So, what, you've decided sanity isn't in fashion this spring?" Harry cried angrily.

"Do not test my patience, Potter," he said warningly. Harry huffed and threw himself back into his chair, arms crossed and restraining himself from pouting.

"Or what? You'll cut me up into a few hundred pieces?" mumbled Harry quietly to himself.

"You should be so lucky," said Snape without a trace of humour in his voice. Harry's eyes widened slightly and he gazed suspiciously at the Potions Master.

Drip. Drop. Drip.


TBC

A/N: Now, I don't know about you but I thought this was hilarious to write. It's such fun! I'm sure I've said somewhere already that I positively love messing around with Snape's pride. This is an excellent example of the torture I adore to bestow upon him. Written while listening to Feeder – Just A Day. You can imagine where the energy came from. Ah, and we love Dumbledore. May you rest in peace. -raises glass-. Oh, and yes, I know it's incredibly short but the next one will make up for it, I swear.