Adrift in A World
Prologue: Involuntary Flight
Harry Potter glared at Voldemort, chained to a stone wall but still radiating defiance and hatred. Death Eaters stood in a circle around Harry and their master, in a manner eerily reminiscent of his fourth year. Catcalling and mocking, they bellowed their hatred and defiance of the falling side of Light, and were there as witnesses to Voldemort's championship over the Boy-Who-Lived, as they battled for one last time.
He had been a prisoner of the Dark Lord for over a month, ever since that disastrous battle at Hogsmeade...
"Don't think about that!" Harry thought to himself, but it was too late. Images of the Weasley twins, for once silent and unmoving, rose to the forefront of Harry's mind. When those two had died, it seemed like the spirit of the Weasley family had broken, but the last Harry saw, they were still fighting. Along with the images of the twins, came his thoughts of Ginny, Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Luna. The nagging thought in his mind was that he didn't even know if they were still alive, or tortured to madness, or—
Another voice entered Harry's head, one that he recognized as Snape's. He searched throughout the Death Eaters until his eyes met those of Severus Snape.
In his sixth year, Snape had finally managed to teach Harry Occlumency. Of course, that was after they had each gained each other's trust in an accidental battle of wills.
Mentally thanking Snape from stopping his near-hysterical thoughts, he tried to control his emotions. Concentration was absolutely crucial as Voldemort, intent on getting the Order's secrets out of Harry, had no doubt devised another torture to make him betray his friends and the only resisting force of the Light.
Over the time of a month, Harry had continuously bested against the Death Eaters by refusing to buckle under their tortures. After the first week, Harry found himself becoming almost used to the Cruciatus Curse. After being held under it for seconds at a time, it had just stopped affecting him so much and he had spent his time taunting the Death Eaters holding him under it. After that, the Death Eaters had gotten permission to be 'creative', and Harry never knew peace again, though he still refused to betray the Order.
Harry had seen Severus several times throughout his stay as a prisoner, but Snape always seemed to try and avoid him, unwilling to participate in torturing Harry. The one thing Snape did, however, was report to the Order as he had just the day before.
Severus rushed through the front door of 12 Grimmauld Place. "Dumbledore!" he gasped, interrupting the middle of an Order meeting, which all of the remaining Weasleys and Granger had been allowed to sit in. "We have a problem!"
Everyone immediately was on alert and facing him, all pale and hopeless after the loss of the last hope against Voldemort. They all seemed to expect the worst, and Severus wasn't about to disappoint them.
"What is it, Severus?" Albus asked, now looking like the hundred or so years he was, without the constant twinkle in his eye. Albus knew that this couldn't last forever. He knew that Riddle would find some way of sidestepping Harry's iron will. Harry would never tell Order secrets as a result of torture, but Tom would find some way around that. He always did, and Occlumency wasn't infallible. . .
"The Dark Lord has given up torturing Harry for the information," Severus said, managing to keep his ever-present emotionless expression. None in the Order looked hopeful about this. They weren't naïve, and they waited for him to continue. "He has decided to use Veritaserum."
Curses were uttered softly, belittling their intensity. This could completely destroy the Order, and nothing could be done about it.
Kingsley talked over the muttering group. "Severus, can't you add a nullifier to the potion? You're their Potions Master."
Snape didn't even bother to sneer at Shacklebolt. He had lost his sneer a long time ago as the war became bleaker. "There is no ingredient or spell I could add that the Dark Lord wouldn't notice. As to brewing a faulty potion, he already has his own stock."
His emotionless mask slipped and he slammed his fist onto the table in frustration. "There is nothing I can do!"
He slumped into a chair as the Headmaster began to speak. "We must relocate," Albus said, looking around at the bleak faces of the Order, particularly the Weasleys'. They had all lost the mischievous spark once the twins had died at the Hogsmeade battle. Albus hadn't voiced a particular opinion of his, knowing it wouldn't be well accepted, but he thought it was a mercy that at least the two twins had died together, instead of one being left behind.
"Harry doesn't have to be the Secret Keeper for Veritaserum to work, but the Order can move, become more underground." He kept the thought that without Harry there wasn't much of a hope for fighting anymore to himself, though he could see it in the faces of the few that knew the Prophecy.
He sighed, and stood from his place at the head of the table. "We simply have to relocate."
Severus looked at the defiant form of Harry Potter from behind his Death Eater mask. It was just a year ago that he had mocked the boy and said that he was just like his father, but Severus now knew that wasn't true. Perhaps James Potter could last a battle —'If his stupidity didn't kill him first,' a voice in his head said—but he wouldn't have been able to last a month under the hands of the Death Eaters.
Severus felt a small amount of pride for the student that he used to hate so much. At the beginning of the school year, Dumbledore had once again tried to force the two to cooperate, though with little success at the beginning.
The two of them had raged at each other, constantly bickering and insulting the other, until they had finally had a duel to find out who was the better fighter (each had been sure it was themselves), and to this day they swore under Dumbledore's stern gaze that it was just Defense practice.
Both had ended up in the Hospital Wing. Madam Pomfrey had told them on no uncertain terms that their "ridiculous squabble" would end immediately. They had glared frostily at each from opposite hospital beds until Potter had told him that the Sorting Hat originally wanted to put him in Slytherin. After that they found that they had a lot in common, especially as enemies against the Dark Lord.
The first thing Severus had taught him was Potions, because, just as he had told Harry, "It is disgraceful that anyone could be considered for Slytherin with such a poor talent at Potions," but at one occasion the boy had just glared at him and deliberately threw a wrong ingredient into his potion, which had made the whole potions lab turn the colors of the Gryffindor house.
That action made Severus retaliate by turning the offending Gryffindor green and silver, making Harry yell in outrage. They fell into a somewhat easy camaraderie after that, though it nearly dissolved once Harry told him of the crimes against his Potions ingredients.
"You WHAT!" Snape shouted, looking at the grinning face of Harry Potter, who was absentmindedly making a potion. Severus had drilled it into his head long enough so that he didn't even have to concentrate anymore. "You made Polyjuice Potion in your second year?"
"Yep," Harry answered, now smirking at the outraged look on Snape's face, realizing that the Potions Professor was near the boiling point. "Well, it wasn't actually me who made it. I just had some to disguise myself as one of Malfoy's lackeys to find out if he was opening the Chamber of Secrets."
That comment stopped Severus in his tracks. "You honestly thought that Draco Malfoy could be able to open the Chamber of Secrets?"
"I was twelve, and I wasn't that far off. It was Malfoy's dad who started the whole thing," he paused. "Not that I needed an excuse to throw a firework in the middle of class or anything..."
Severus looked up at this, eyes full of rage. "That was you!" Harry looked up at that, alert at Snape's sudden change of tone. Snape dragged him away from the potion he was currently brewing, and into the hallway leading out of the dungeons. "We're going up to the Headmaster's office. There is no way you'll get out of this one, Potter."
Harry wrenched his arm out of Snape's grip, his eyes full of challenge. "You do realize that you left an unstable potion alone don't you, Professor?" As Snape's eyes widened fractionally when he realized what Harry meant, there was a small explosion from inside the potions lab. Snape had rushed back inside, groaning when he saw bunches of dandelions on every surface, singing 'Weasley is Our King'.
"How is it, Potter," Snape had asked seething, giving up on ever getting Harry in trouble with the Headmaster, "that your failed potions always end up doing something dramatically horrible to my lab?"
Harry smirked cheekily at this, and started the potion back up again. "You'll find out that I'm not nearly as miserable at potions as I used to be. The twins were very helpful with that."
Snape glared at Harry. That smirk had brought back memories of James Potter, and Snape's eyes turned into emotionless pools of black ink. "Foolish Gryffindor, with your stupid plots. With the backwards way you go about things, it's no wonder you get people killed . . ."
Harry froze at that comment, but continued working on the potion. When it was finished, Harry corked the potion and slammed it on Snape's desk.
"There's you potion, sir," he had snarled, more icily than even Snape himself could hope to do, then marched out the door.
It was then that Snape had discovered Harry's talent for wandless and wordless magic, because the boy's anger had stayed on that vial all night, and Snape couldn't touch it without getting burned.
Severus mentally shook himself. He was getting as reminiscent as a foolish Gryffindor. He saw Harry looking at a clear potion in the hands of Lucius Malfoy, and faced the scene in front of him. It was coming...
Voldemort stood in front of Harry, smirking sadistically as he knew that triumph was close.
"Don't worry, Harry Potter," the Dark Lord said in a high, cold voice like an icy wind. "As soon as you betray your foolish Order, I, as a merciful Lord, will let you join your pathetic Mudblood mother."
The surrounding Death Eaters laughed at that, and edged closer, intent on seeing whatever was going to happen.
Harry saw red at that. He knew that he would be forced to take Veritaserum. This foolproof way to make him spill the Order's headquarters was the only thing that would make Voldemort this happy. But he thought that if this was going to happen, he needed to cause as much damage as possible first.
"I will never know what you have against Muggleborns and half-bloods," Harry said, looking at Voldemort head on. "After all, you are one yourself."
The jeering Death Eaters fell silent at that, and stared at their Master in confusion, while Voldemort looked at him with no emotion.
"What makes you claim such a thing as that?" The wizard asked softly, and the Death Eaters quieted to hear what their Master had to say. "How could I be half-blood when I am so powerful? That lie is a foolish claim, Potter, and one that you shall pay for."
The Death Eaters looked mollified at that short speech, though Harry wasn't prepared to give up, so he spoke sarcastically and patronizingly. "Of course, Voldemort, that's why your dad was a Mug—"
He was immediately silenced as Voldemort conjured a wickedly jagged sword and slashed his right arm. Harry gasped and fell silent, willing himself not to cry out. 'So much for that idea,' he thought to himself, and could hear a concurring echo of Snape's voice say, 'Idiotically Gryffindor.'
"Desist in your attempts at insults," Voldemort said in a ringing voice before speaking in a quiet voice, so only Harry could hear. "Your information is not so valuable that I won't kill you slowly and mercilessly."
Harry rolled his eyes at the Dark Lord, putting on a show of bravado that would have made Snape cringe if he could. "Whatever you say, Tom."
Turning his back on the Boy-Who-Lived, Voldemort commanded, "Bring the potion forth, Lucius."
Malfoy Sr. smirked at Harry, carrying a bottle of crystal clear liquid that he gave, bowing, to his Master.
"I trust you know what this is, Potter?" Voldemort asked in his cold, icy voice. Harry didn't respond, just mutely glaring at the man he had hated for so long.
"Apparently you do. Don't worry, Harry Potter. We'll get you to talk soon enough." All the Death Eaters guffawed at this, while their leader smirked cruelly. "Yes, you will talk. There is no defense for Veritaserum and no defense for your pathetic Order. Now, Potter, anything you want to say before you betray the Light?"
"Sure," Harry responded recklessly, wondering if he could annoy Voldemort to the point where he would just be killed instead of interrogated. Severus wondered the same thing though with slightly less hope.
"It took you long enough to think of Veritaserum, Tom," Harry said, relishing the look of hatred on Voldemort's face. "Here I thought you were smart, but then again, if you can be stopped for thirteen years by a one year old . . ."
'You've got to hand it to him,' Severus thought as Voldemort stalked up to Harry. 'He definitely knows how to anger the Dark Lord.' However, that anger only resulted in Voldemort wrenching Harry's jaw open with a loud snap, and forcing three drops of Veritaserum into his mouth.
Harry's eyes glazed over, becoming foggy as per the side-effects of Veritaserum, but Severus thought, with more than a little hope, that his eyes weren't as foggy as they should have been with such a high dosage. 'The stubborn Gryffindor is resistant to the Imperius, maybe . . .' But Severus knew it was a foolish hope, and thought with certainty that the Order was about to be discovered.
"Harry Potter," the Dark Lord asked, smirking at his sure triumph, "where does the Order of Phoenix meet?"
Harry opened his mouth to answer, his face slack, and Severus shut his eyes. This was the beginning of the end.
"Twelve–" Harry said, his voice emotionless, and then he paused. Severus opened his eyes, and thought that he seemed to be struggling against the potion. Then Harry's eyes cleared as if they had never been foggy.
"Go to Hell!" Harry snarled at Voldemort, appearing to have done the impossible and beaten the potion.
The Dark lord hissed in annoyance, and shot 'Petrificus Totalus' at him. Frozen solid, Harry couldn't even struggle as Voldemort pulled his head back, and poured the entire bottle of Truth Potion down his throat.
"Where does the Order of the Phoenix meet?" Voldemort demanded in a clipped, ice cold tone.
"Twelve–" Harry started again, but shuddered and gagged from the amount of Veritaserum forced into his system, unable to stop his jaw from violently spasming as he refused to answer. Voldemort's spell was having no effect on his involuntary movements.
Harry turned to face Voldemort, but gasped in surprise as felt himself being jerked as if by Portkey and vanishing.
The Death Eaters looked in shock at the chains that just hold Harry Potter, their greatest enemy, and chaos erupted. Severus managed to escape much of the Dark Lord's wrath by saying that Dumbledore would be suspicious of his absence if he wasn't back soon.
He Disapparated and ran through the kitchen of Grimmauld Place where members were scurrying to erase all signs of information.
"Dumbledore!" he yelled, immediately getting the wizard's attention. "We have a problem!"