Out of the Shadows
Chapter 2: Reflection
Writter: fall shadow
Summary: Harry has been raised to follow a path of darkness, but when he meets Hermione things start to change and he finds out everything he has been led to believe is a lie. Now, with a strengthened resolve, he must do whatever it takes to stop the one he once considered his master.
“Mudblood.” The word left a bad taste in his mouth and an empty feeling in his chest that mirrored the darkness in front of him. When he sensed no movement from behind the bars, he paused, straining his eyes to see deeper into the room. After a few moments, his vision adjusted enough so that he could see the silhouette of a person sitting against the wall.
Harry wasn’t sure how much time had passed. He felt frozen rooted to the spot. Somehow, he knew she was awake and conscious of his presence, but he couldn’t figure out what else to say. Normally when the prisoners did not respond, he set the food down where they could reach it and left.
The shadow moved, slowly, to an upright position. It approached him, and stopped a few feet in front of the bars separating them. Within seconds, he could see her face dimly lit from the light of the candle on the wall near the cell.
Her eyes seemed to be analyzing him. Self-consciously, Harry stood more rigid and tensed his muscles to stop their nervous twitching. Her eyes paused on his cheek, where he remembered there was probably a bruise forming. His jaw clenched a little tighter. Her eyes met his.
In the middle of the night, he found his eyes once again glued to the bare ceiling of his room. Moonlight shone through his window, giving everything it touched an iridescent glow. But the young man lying there didn’t notice.
All he saw were her eyes, and the way they had searched his. Brown, a slightly dark shade, with brighter, almost golden flecks that caught the light of the dancing flames from the candle. There was a reason he never looked their prisoners in the eyes. Somehow he instinctively knew it would break him. In her eyes he saw a person, a young girl, around his own age. He saw emotions, questions, uncertainty, dreams, and fear. He saw memories, friends, a history, a family, and love. He saw something never reflected in the eyes of the Death Eaters.
He saw himself.
Harry cursed the knots in his stomach as he took a small chunk of bread and water down to her the next morning.
“M-Mudblood.” His voice didn’t falter. He said it the same as he had the night before. His tone hadn’t changed.
She knows information about Dumbledore. She is supposed to be on good terms with him. She may even know who killed my parents.
A second later, her eyes appeared from the darkness and those thoughts were wiped from his mind.
Her face looks a little thinner. There is no way this is enough food. Maybe she is sick? No, she could probably just use more to eat. It has been a few days.
The next meal, dinner, he told the Malfoys he was not feeling well and they let him take the rest of his dinner to his room. This had long been a sort of unspoken agreement between them. Ever since he had thrown up in their dining room on one of his first nights there, they had permitted him to take the rest of his plate to his room if he didn’t feel like finishing his meal yet. As long as they didn’t have a mess in their house, they didn’t care where he ate.
Harry carefully hid the rest of his food and waited with his plate mostly empty on the nightstand next to his bed.
When Mrs. Malfoy called him to bring food down to the dungeon, he carefully waited until she was out of sight and slipped his hidden food onto the plate. Checking that the hallway and stairs were clear, Harry hurriedly crept toward the dungeon.
“Taking scraps to the vermin, Potter?”
Harry flinched and turned, seeing Draco emerging from a dimly lit room partway down the hall. His tone had been level, bored even, missing the sneering malice it had always held. The shadows just visible under his eyes were evidence that Harry wasn’t the only one with trouble sleeping. Over the last year, Draco had been acting very differently. At times, he had been tense and on edge, snapping at everyone, and others he would be distant.
It had been strange, seeing someone normally so hostile and confident look scared and lost. Harry had pieced together some of the reasons behind the changes in the usually arrogant Slytherin, but despite his efforts, there were gaps in what he had overheard.
Trying not to look suspicious, Harry eyed Draco, shifting his arm to try to hide the extra food under his sweatshirt. However, he needn’t have bothered; Draco continued into another room without waiting for Harry to reply or baiting him further. Turning back around before someone else could spot him, Harry carefully added the smuggled part of his dinner to her plate.
After coming to get her food, silently as always, the girl looked up to his face with a quizzical expression. Harry averted his eyes, debating on a lame excuse for the obvious difference in the food he offered, which she seemed to have noticed. Deciding to just ignore it and act like nothing was different, he glanced at her. Her brown eyes were still searching him. She looked like she was trying to piece together some intricate, confusing puzzle. He quickly looked away again, and turned to leave.
The words were so quiet he wasn’t sure he had heard them. They would be the first she had ever spoken to him. If it weren’t for the sudden hesitation in his footsteps, it would seem like he had not caught the sound at all.
The next day, he covertly shared a portion of his breakfast and lunch with her, too, feigning illness to the Malfoys and leaving the prisoner quickly after giving her the plate. He realized at breakfast that he had not called for her. She had just come over to receive the food he offered. Harry wasn’t sure when that had started, but he didn’t mind not having to say anything.
On his way back up from the dungeons a while after the normal lunch hour, seeming as it had taken him a while to get a clear path down the stairs with the extra food, he heard something that froze him in place.
Bellatrix. He knew that cruel, high-pitched voice. Something like ice shot through him as he realized what that meant. She was going to be interrogated tonight. His legs carried him the rest of the way up the stairs and to his room. He felt like he was on autopilot. Harry hated interrogations, especially those done by Bellatrix. He could picture the girl’s eyes, full of fear, pain, confusion, determination. Lying down on his bed, he waited for the inevitable, feeling hollow.
Though it felt like hours, Harry didn’t have to wait long. Mr. Malfoy called him downstairs and told him to take food down to the dungeons early since they would be having a party after dinner. His stomach was in knots. The plate was emptier than usual. He knew why. Harry was glad he hadn’t eaten much lunch.
He took the plate and descended into the darkness of the dungeon. She came to meet him to get her food. Harry was staring at the plate, his insides filled with turmoil and dread. She reached out for it and hesitated, her hands halfway to the plate.
She must’ve noticed the difference in food, especially since I have been bringing her extra. Before he could stop himself, he looked up at her.
Their eyes met and he could see a question on her face. Then, to his surprise, her expression changed to reflect
how he felt.
She looks worried. Am I that transparent? I haven’t been focusing. Without anyone watching, I forgot to keep myself in check.
Cursing in his head and taking in a breath, Harry transformed his face the best he could into a stoic, lifeless expression. She still hadn’t taken the plate. He considered whether or not he should say something when she spoke instead.
“What is it?” she asked, in a hoarse whisper of a voice.
Startled, his eyes flickered to hers and he had to fight to look away. When he had, he waited, and after a few moments, she took the plate. He turned to walk away, but something stopped him from ascending the stairs.
“I wouldn’t eat tonight.”
He kept his voice quiet to make sure no one other than her heard him. Harry turned and walked upstairs without glancing back.
“Go and fetch the wretched little piece of filth, Potter. I don’t want to touch her with my hands.” Harry saw memories of Bellatrix’s favorite knife in his mind. The thought of her using it tonight did nothing to calm his nerves.
I hardly ever have to move the prisoners.
“And bind her hands,” Mr. Malfoy tossed him a rope, “I don’t want her getting any ideas.”
“Hurry up, you useless boy,” Bellatrix snapped, even though Harry had already started toward the dungeon stairs, “I’ve been waiting all day for this.”
Harry was trying to coerce his limbs into not shaking. He reached the barred door and paused. Even though he didn’t have a plate, she came to the door, though more hesitantly, he noted. He took out his wand and pointed it in her direction. She flinched, but the only result was the door slowly opening. Pocketing his wand, he quickly moved behind her and grabbed her hands, bringing them together. Touching her skin rattled him a bit, and he noticed that his hands were still shaking.
Her skin is so cold.
“What are you doing?” she asked him, trying to pull her hands away, but he gripped her wrists tighter.
She looked over her shoulder at him and caught his eyes. The sick feeling swimming inside him doubled and his whole body tensed at the fear and vulnerability in her eyes. His grip loosened and he hesitated, just staring at her back, holding her wrists. After a moment, he pulled the rope around her wrists and tied her hands together behind her back. She made no further attempt to stop him.
He knew he was tying it loose. He had no idea why he was doing it. He hadn’t planned it or thought it out. He had just started tying and that was the result. She was still bound, but he knew she could get free if she struggled enough. He would bet she could tell, too.
When he was done tying, Harry paused again. He put his hand on her upper arm and walked her out of the barred cell she had been trapped in for several days. He had an idea of what was waiting for her up the stairs. She was better off in that dark, isolated dungeon.
Harry wondered if the trembling he felt was her or him. He couldn’t tell anymore.