Disclaimer: None of the mentioned series in this story belongs to me.

The Unwilling Participant: Part I

It was finally over. The war was finally over. Voldemort had finally been killed by the very person he had sought to dispose of for the past decade. Everybody was understandably relieved and celebrated the death of the one person who caused them so much pain for as long as they remembered. They didn't care that they were standing amongst countless corpses, soaked under the pouring rain. All the living Death Eaters had been rounded up and the Light had suffered minimal damage and loss. Nothing could be better.

Harry smiled, stubbornly ignoring the twitch in his gut. Voldemort was dead, his soul destroyed for good. Every training he had every pain he had suffered; it had all been for that moment. For all his life, it had been for destroying the Dark Lord. He had been acknowledged for it, but where did he stand now? What could he possibly mean to anyone now that he had fulfilled what people expected of him?

Ron and Hermonie ran up to him once they've gotten over their shock of the victory. Harry waved over to them, smiling at them through blood and grime.

It was exactly at that moment that he felt a pull. In a second, he was staring at an unfamiliar ceiling. He frowned. It wasn't the Dursleys' ceiling and it sure as hell wasn't Hogwart's ceiling; the grand castle's ceiling was nowhere as dirty or rough as the ceiling he was staring at.

He was about to sit up when he heard voices heading his way. Acting on reflex, he quietly willed himself to be still and closed his eyes. Paranoia, something he had gained in the course of the war. Years ago he would have panicked upon stepping onto unfamiliar territory, but he grew out of it. War did that to people.

He had long since learnt that Slytherin slyness was better at dealing with these kinds of situations as compared to Gryffindor recklessness. He would observe. Until how long, he didn't know, but he will until he deemed the action unnecessary.

The voices were getting clearer. The language they spoke sounded nothing like English. Silently, Harry casted a language translating spell. Wandless magic, something else he had picked up. He'll be damned if he let himself be trapped in a place with… companions he didn't understand.

"… are you sure it's him, Orochimaru-sama? He looks no more dangerous than an ordinary citizen."

Harry almost frowned. 'Orochimaru? Who in the right mind would name their kid that?'

He didn't get a chance to further ponder over this before the second voice cut in. "I am as sure as you are, Kabuto-kun. He does indeed like too weak for my liking. I am fascinated though. Why would an ordinary citizen have almost-dried blood and grime on him?"

'Kabuto? Orochimaru? These sound like Japanese names! What on Earth am I doing in Japan?!' He nearly frowned but suppressed it with no more than a slight twitch. It was enough to notify the two men that their newly-acquired hostage was regaining consciousness.

"I see that you have woken up, boy." Scowling at the unwelcome, too familiar "endearment", Harry opened his eyes and sat up. Observing his companions, he noticed that one looked like a snake and the other felt like one.

The three men entered a staring match, each unwilling to back down. In the end, Orochimaru broke the stare with an unnerving smirk. "My, my, aren't you an interesting one." He practically purred it.

If he wasn't at the frontline of the most horrifying war in wizarding history for more than a decade, he would have done more than shiver at the tone of voice. Casting a language speaking spell on himself, he spoke his first words of Japanese, "who the hell are you? And where am I? While we're at it, how did I get here? Wherever here is."

The white-haired one sent him what looked like a scowl. Ignoring it, he focused on the longer-haired men who seemed to be Orochimaru. "I… " He paused for dramatic effect. "… am Orochimaru." Harry almost let out a disgusted snort. What was it with middle-aged men and their drama?

Instead, he said, "Orochimaru. Great. Now answer my other questions." The white-haired man's lips turned into a sneer. "Show some respect to Orochimaru-sama!" Harry just looked at him, unimpressed. "Respect has to be earned you white-haired idiot." Turning to face the obviously amused man, he steadfastly ignored the other seething man. 'Fool. With temper like yours, you wouldn't last a minute in battle.'

"Well?" He said expectantly, adding a raised eyebrow for effect. Orochimaru cleared his throat, replying with unconcealed amusement. "You are in my territory, Harry Potter, and I would much prefer you show some constrain from insulting my right-hand man." If Harry was surprised that snake man knew his name, he didn't show it.

"You are here because I wanted you to be here." Nothing could have prevented a well-aimed scowl at the man. "What do you mean I am here because you wanted me to be?!"

"Ah," Orochimaru smirked. "Exactly what I've said."

"You see," he started pacing in front of Harry. "I have an ambition. An ambition, as much as I hate to admit, I need assistance in accomplishing. I came across an interesting scroll on night and in it, I found an equally interesting jutsu. It allows me to summon the most powerful being from the Outside. Admittedly, when I performed that jutsu, I didn't expect to get a… boy like you. But I suppose some help is as good as any."

The scowl was becoming permanent on his face. The older man's entire being screamed 'Dark Lord!' and he knew from experience that any kind of ambition these evil doers have never brooded well for the general public. "Look here. I do not know anything about this 'Outside' you are babbling about, but I refuse to help you."

"Ah," Orochimaru had that infuriating, I-know-something-you-don't smirk. "But you will. If you want to return home that is."

"What?" Harry breathed.

Orochimaru had a smug look on his face, as did Kabuto. "Harry, Harry, Harry. Where you lived is referred to as the Outside." He purred, gleeful at the temporary advantage he had over the boy. "You re no longer Outside. I brought you here and only I know how to bring you back." When there was no reply from the boy, he allowed a triumphant smirk, a look mirrored by his revenge-hungry right-hand man.

"I shall grant you 24 hours to consider. I shall return tomorrow at this time. I await your answer."

The men turned to walk out the door before the snake man turned back to him, "oh, and don't even try to escape. There is a reason why you're not chained up. Kukuku." And he left, his evil laughter following him as he did.

To Be Continued